Most of us will be feeling varying levels of anxiety, confusion, fear and overwhelm, amongst other emotions, at this unprecedented time.
Worrying about things that might happen, scenarios that might play out and ‘what if’ catastrophising are all perfectly typical behaviours in such circumstances but if you would like to re-focus your thoughts (which in turn will change your feelings) then try this.
Based on Steven Covey’s Circle of Concern, I invite you to consider the things that are bothering you as being in one of three categories;
- Concern – things that you care about and are important to you but that ultimately you have no power over.
- Influence – things that you don’t have direct control over but that you can influence self and others to contribute to making a difference.
- Control – the things that you have control over and are within your gift to do differently.
You may want to draw this out. Draw a large circle. Inside that circle, draw another and inside that one draw a third. The smallest circle, in the middle, is the circle of control, the one outside of that is the circle of influence and the outer one is the circle of concern.
Now, note down in each circle the things that are causing you to feel the way you are, noticing whether the thing is something you have no control over (concern), limited control over (influence) or significant control over (control).
When you have done this, notice where most of your notes are. You may find that you are spending a lot of energy on things over which you have no control. If so, take a moment to consider the things that you could be doing, that you do have control over, that can help.
Feeling that things are ‘out of control’ is often a trigger for feelings of overwhelm, stress, pessimism and worry. Conversely, feeling that we have things ‘under control’ encourages feelings of certainty, focus, clarity and optimism.
So, what can you think of that you do have control over, that you can start doing right away that will help shift your thoughts to boost your feelings? And if you’re struggling to think of things, ask me, ask those around you and mull it over whilst doing other things. You might be surprised what bubbles up.