Recognize and act within your circle of control (DW#727 )
Mar 31, 2020
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.
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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