It’s All About Control…

Over the last 15 months, the concept of control has been at the forefront of our minds. We have experienced limits on where we go, who we see, what we do and more. We have had to question our security, the health and safety of ourselves and of loved ones. We have had to solve new problems and try and build some resilience. We have contemplated what a future world will look like for ourselves and future generations. It has been a thought provoking time to say the least. It would be quite natural to find that anxiety we had about things, has been enhanced. Or maybe we have been worrying more than usual about new things.

Having control over our thoughts takes at least some practice at the very least and a solid commitment to achieve something closer to a mastery. When faced with a loss of control, so many of us worry. It’s natural. No matter what your pandemic story has been like, it may be high time to start reflecting on how to manage these anxious thoughts.

One therapeutic activity that can help us start to reflect is figuring out what is within our control and what is not (The Wellness Society, 2020). It can be refreshing to look at a simple list of things and then focus more attention on the things within our control, than not. This means consciously choosing to put more mental and emotional energy into the things that fall under your control rather than spending energy on the things that don’t. Take these examples…

Within My Control: 

  • gratitude about the things that have gone well for me
  • what I eat
  • what activities I do 
  • self care

Outside My Control: 

  • the weather
  • government actions
  • traffic
  • schools opening or closing

If you are taking your first steps towards reflecting about what is within and outside of your control, try taking a blank page and drawing a large circle in the middle. On the inside of that circle, write ‘within my control” and start brainstorming a list unique to you. Then in the blank space outside of the circle, write “out side my control” and start that list (The Coronavirus Anxiety Workbook, 2020).

Next try making a conscious effort to spend more emotional and mental energy on the things within, and relinquish control over the things outside. Having some perspective is the first step in a series of other steps you can take with this activity.

If you would like some support about this activity or learn other coping strategies, book your initial Social Work appointment with Nathalie Zeemel.

 

References: The Wellness Society, 2020