Recognize and act within your circle of control (DW#727 )

One of the most important things we can do to cultivate resilience is to recognize our sense of agency.
Agency is simply a fancy word for how empowered you feel or how much control or power you feel over your own life. This is where your energy and strength come from.
The truth is that there are many many things outside our control. There always have been and always will be. The present world situation has simply brought these into sharp focus.

And the truth is also that some things always were and still remain with our control. (Can you see that?)
Now, when we focus our attention to things that are outside our control, we give up our sense of agency. We feel powerless and therefore hopeless.
The way out of this feeling of helplessness and the panic that ensues is to become more mindful of where we are focusing our attention.
Is it focused on things that are outside our control or those that we have control or power over?
When going down the rabbit hole of panic, it is a good idea to take a moment to do the following exercise on paper.
Draw a large circle and then a smaller circle within in. The large circle is all the things that you are concerned about at the moment but which you have no control over. The smaller, inner circle is all the things that you do have control over. Actually write them down. Please trust me on this one.
Once you have your list, practice focusing on the things that you do have control over and practice doing them. Again and again.

Here is a quick list from this morning. Yours will be different of course.

The pandemic:

What I am worrying about today but have no control over

Loved ones scattered all over the world

When I will see them
How many people are falling sick

The infection rate for health care professionals

The lack of protective equipment for healthcare professionals

Mental health of family and friends

The economic devastation caused for the vulnerable and marginalized

Grumpy people and people who are not socially distancing

How badly some governments are handling the situation

What if loved ones need a ventilator and it is not available? What if I need a ventilator?

Things that I do have control over:

What news I watch

How much I watch

What is on my newsfeed - Whether I go on Twitter last thing at night – or at all

Whether I take supplements to build immunity

How much I move

Reaching out to a friend to provide support – or to ask for it

Donating to alleviate some economic hardship

The intention I set in the morning

Words of kindness I speak today

When and if I leave the house

This is such a powerful exercise.

When we shift our focus from things that we cannot control or change to things that we can, our perception changes from helplessness to empowerment.

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