What is actually in your control? What do you have power over?
This is a very important line of questioning for us to ponder. In fact, if you were to create groupings of the things in your life that you are responsible for or that you worry about the most – then I would start first by creating two major categories. Things you control, things you do not control.
For example, I control what I eat today. That is absolutely under my control. I can choose to stuff my face with cookies or I can choose to eat a healthy prepared meal full of whole foods. Diet and nutrition are completely in my control. However, the pending Presidential Election is NOT in my control at all. So which one should I be thinking about the most? Which one should I dedicate time and energy toward? This is mission critical for you if you are feeling stress, anxiety, angst, or even depression.
You must, absolutely must, identify what is in front of you in those two categories. Another example, I sit hear at my desk working on my 365 commitments (like I have done every morning for a long time) and I have tinge of apprehension. I have a personal branding project I am working on, I have a podcast that I want to finish, I have a book that I am trying to assemble, I have several work tasks to do, I have a gaping hole in my life that used to be spirituality, and I have a messy desk. All of that, and a lot more, is swelling around in my mind. Now add to that the thing that I do not control. I am worried about the choices and decisions that my children will make growing up, I am worried about the political climate in the country, I am worried about the economy, I am worried about pandemics and the list goes on. I am also worried about decision and action of people in my company.
The point is that I DO NOT CONTROL the actions, decisions of other people, groups, or society as a whole. I only control myself. I only control what is in front of me. If I am feeling bad, then I can just stand up right here and start cleaning this office. That will absolutely help me feel better and so that is something that I have control over and that I can actually do. I absolutely cannot do anything about the Mayor of Portland’s decision to let a gang of criminals run rampant in his streets. I cannot stop excessive police force, and I absolutely can do nothing about the media infused racial division that is being advertised. I might be able to do something, right here in my community that could help one or more of these issue. I may decide to take that on, or not. I can control what I do. I can do something, or not. However the point is this. I must worry about what I control. That is always where a healthy and rational person must start.
Most importantly, on its face, why would you ever allow something not under your control to control you? If an opposing force invaded our country and started to attack my family, you better believe that I would the first to run to the hills and scream…”wolverines (Red Dawn Reference).” So why is it that I will sit here and let other people’s agendas work their way into my mind and twist it all up? Yeah, that is the point. I need to focus on what is in my control. Worry about what is in front of me that I can actually impact and stop wasting precious energy on what I can do nothing about.