The news you read before bed, the failures you had in the past, and the worries you have for the future. When night falls, the atmosphere is quiet and all these start to crawl in slowly, stealing the peace from your mind and body. Not only your rest time at night is being disrupted by all these thoughts, but your work performance in the day also gets affected as you spend most of your energy and time trying to go beyond your means to make things work. When things are still not working even after multiple tries, you feel disappointed and you start to lose faith and confidence in yourself. Ask yourself this question. For all the things that are running through your mind right now, what are those that are within your control and what are not?
Why Do We Worry?
According to Dr Seth Gilihan from Psychology Today, most of the time, we worry as we are unable to foresee the outcome of things. To prevent ourselves from receiving a bad surprise, we tend to imagine the worst-case scenario to prepare ourselves for any disappointment.
On top of that, Dr Seth also stated that humans tend to believe that worrying acts as a motivation for us to work hard and not be complacent. However, these reasons stated above are what we believe. In fact, we are all aware of the negative impacts our worries can have on our mind and body. When you worry excessively, you might suffer from anxiety which can lead to panic attacks, depression, headaches, breathing problems and the list goes on.
One way you can prevent yourself from suffering from these devastating effects, is to worry less and start to let go of the things beyond your control.
The Circle of Control
Life is made up of two factors: The things you can control and the things you cannot control. The stress and anxiety you are facing in your daily life is probably a result of your worries piled up over time.
Understanding the theory behind the circle of control helps in steering us towards the right direction of having a proactive mindset. With a proactive mindset, you are aware of what you want in life, which helps in determining a course of action within your control. This also allows you to have the ability to recognise and let go of things which are beyond your control.
Within the circle of control, it includes things which can happen as a result of our choices regardless of the agreement with others and the key to controlling lies in the choice we make to manage ourselves in the three domains namely, language, emotion and body.
For example, this COVID19 Circuit Breaker has brought us much uncertainties and changes that we are not prepared for. The external environment such as the control measures and closure of your favourite food outlet is not within our circle of control. Within the circle of control, we have the option and opportunity to sharpen our saw by attending online workshops, learn new recipes and many more.
When we attempt to control the uncontrollable, we start over-controlling things.
By pushing ourselves too much for things which are beyond our control, we often land ourselves in stressful situations which might cause us to neglect our priorities in life such as our health, family, friends and work as we shift our focus onto our worries.
Indeed, it feels good to accomplish things which are out of your expectations, but you might lose sight of what is important to you.
We might not always succeed in life. Without the falls and stumbles in life, we will not be able to learn from our past mistakes and improve on areas which we are lacking in the future.
Though over-controlling can add on to our daily stress, coping with our life passively might not be a good idea too. Passive coping means that even if you are unhappy or unsatisfied with a certain situation, you are not trying to do anything to make changes for the better.
This sentence might be familiar to you: “I cannot do anything about it. I give up.” If we decide to sit out on a problem and wait for a solution, things will never work and we will feel more negative about the situation.
On the other hand, if we can prepare for a plan B before the problem occurs, at least we are doing something to salvage the situation. This way, even if things are still not working out at the end of the day, we know that we have done our best and that is enough.
Making A Change
When life gives you turbulence, give yourself a soft landing. Though you cannot control the things which are happening around you, you have the power to decide on how kind you can be to yourself.
Past experiences might cause you to have a phobia to make another attempt but never be afraid to free yourself from the prison of your past. Try not to be too hard on yourself when you face failures and believe that there is always hope for you to do better the next time as you are equipped with the learnings from your past experiences.
Be brave to make a change and you might be able to witness the fruits of your labour not immediately, but certainly in the near future.
- Customizing Life. 2020. How To Stop Worrying - The Circle Of Control - Customizing Life. [online] Available at: https://customizinglife.com/stop-worrying/ [Accessed 6 May 2020].
- Psychology Today. 2016. 5 Reasons We Worry, And 5 Ways To Worry Less. [online] Available at: https://www.psychologytoday.com/au/blog/think-act-be/201610/5-reasons-we-worry-and-5-ways-worry-less [Accessed 6 May 2020].
- WebMD. n.d. Physical Effects Of Worrying. [online] Available at: https://www.webmd.com/balance/guide/how-worrying-affects-your-body#1 [Accessed 8 May 2020].
- Cherney, K., 2018. 12 Effects Of Anxiety On The Body. [online] Healthline. Available at: https://www.healthline.com/health/anxiety/effects-on-body#1 [Accessed 8 May 2020].
- Chittenden, C., n.d. 3. The Circles Of Control, Influence And Concern | Talkingabout. [online] Talkingabout.com.au. Available at: http://www.talkingabout.com.au/3ControlInfluenceConcern [Accessed 9 May 2020].
- Lifehacker. 2015. The Surprising Downsides Of Being An Overachiever. [online] Available at: https://lifehacker.com/the-surprising-downsides-of-being-an-overachiever-1733341356 [Accessed 9 May 2020].
- Latumahina, D., 2007. Developing A Balanced You Using Covey’S 4 Intelligences. [online] Life Optimizer. Available at: https://www.lifeoptimizer.org/2007/05/19/developing-a-balanced-you-using-coveys-4-intelligences/ [Accessed 10 May 2020].