What is in your control & what is not
It can be a relief to let go of the things you know you cannot control.
Often trying to control things that are out of our control can be the source of great frustration. This is especially true with global events: the pandemic, people losing their jobs, the protests, wildfires, and hurricanes. These events seem so out of control they make us feel powerless.
Reminding yourself about the things that are in your control, and those things that are not, can help restore some sense of balance, reminding us that we have the ability to influence the direction and outcomes in our life.
Here are four tips on how to do that:
1) Focus on your influence. You can only control your attitude, effort, and mindset, but you can also influence other people and circumstances. Making a list of things that are in your control and what you can do about them are the first steps to forming a plan.
2) Name your fears. It is so easy to get carried away in thinking about our worst possible outcomes that we sometimes forget to ask what we would actually do in those circumstances. We get stuck in our fears—things not working out on a test, at school, in a relationship. Instead of letting your mind race to the future to consider worst-case scenarios, try naming what you feel. Again, a simple list—even in your head—helps give you back some control.
3) Sometimes our mind gets stuck thinking the same thoughts over and over again. That kind of thinking might look constructive, like we are solving a problem rather than just dwelling on it, but really it is just drudging up that same worried energy. Knowing this allows us to get unstuck and instead focus on a solution, which can cause a huge shift in mindset.
4) Make a plan. You probably saw where all of this was heading. Again, sitting down and forming a plan to deal with what is in your control and name what is not can move you forward toward a solution.