So much is out of our control these days. For over a year, a global pandemic has made it hard to visit loved ones, get educated, go to work, socialize, and even go to the grocery store. We have been isolated and lonely, and none of us controls when it will end.
This is a time to show ourselves compassion and to give ourselves grace. It is also a time to focus on what we can control and turn worry into action!
Life is full of events – things that happen around us, things that happen to us, and things we make happen (directly or indirectly). Some of those things – like how long shelter-in-place will last, whether school will be taught in person or online, when we can get vaccinated – are things that concern us but that most of us cannot control.
Other things – like whether our family members get vaccinated when they can, whether our friends practice social distancing, or whether our children wear masks in their classrooms – are things we can influence but also cannot control.
Finally, there are the things we can control – what time of day we go to the grocery store, how often we wear our own masks, whether or not we visit loved ones.
All the things listed here are things we worry about, but sometimes we have to ask ourselves: is worrying worth it? Why worry about the things we cannot control? It is exhausting, and our energy might be better spent elsewhere. We cannot control the pandemic, but we can control how we react to it.
The next time you are worried about something, stop and think about what it is that worries you. Ask yourselves questions about it:
What exactly is worrying me? Name the worry.
Is the worry something I can do anything about?
If this is something I cannot do anything about, where could I better spend my energies?
Is the worry something I can influence?
If it is something I can influence, how?
How likely is my influence to succeed?
If my influence is not likely to succeed, where could I better spend my energies?
Is the worry something I can control?
If this is something I can control, how?
These questions are important because they help you turn worrying into action. They help you take control of what you can, and stop worrying about what you cannot.