Control what you can and let go of what you cannot

Right now it is hard to be optimistic about the future. It can help to gain perspective by focusing on what you can control and not waste your energy on the things you can't control. This downloadable infographic sets out a framework to help you achieve this.

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Each day we will find that there are all sorts of things that worry and concern us. These range from crisis issues such as the current pandemic to everyday matters such as what we are going to eat tonight. These problems are in the following categories: 

1. Problems that worry us and over which we have no control 

2. Problems that worry us which we can influence but cannot resolve

3. Problems that worry us and which we can do something about to improve the situation

Human beings are wired to be on alert to things that might be harmful or dangerous and take evasive action. This means that we have a natural inclination to worry about everything that concerns us even if it is outside our control. This phenomenon is called the negativity bias. 

In normal times, our negativity bias is like to be triggered by a poorly crafted email, delays in travel or an awkward conversation. The resulting bad mood, frustration and stress is bad enough, but in a crisis, our negativity bias goes into overload. Then our primitive instinct of fight, flight or freeze kicks in. When this happens, we can tip into patterns of behaviour that are driven by fear and anxiety. Shifting your mindset is the key to being in a more resourceful state. But how do you do this? 

Try this:

It can help to gain perspective by focusing on what you can control and not wasting your energy on the things you can't control - as this downloadable infographic illustrates. 

What else can you add to this list? Take a few minutes to think about the things that you can do today that will make you feel more capable of coping. 

For example, you can control how you approach your work. Perhaps choosing to focus on one task at a time instead of multi-tasking which is an insidious form of self-interruption. Multi-tasking is just toggling your working memory between between one thing and another. It ruins your focus and quickly depletes your energy. A smarter way to work is one task at time with regular planned breaks. 

You can also decide to take moments of pause and recognise what has gone well during the day. Think about what you have achieved to inspire you for the next day. Make a note of them for future reference. Manage specific concerns by focusing on how important they are and rate them this way. Then think about who can support you. Who knows you best? How might you support them in return? After all, we are all in this together. 

Some also find it soothing to remember the words from the Serenity Prayer: "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."

Helpful resources
There are many useful resources to support people in during this crisis and beyond. Here are a few that I hope you find helpful: 

NHS - Every Mind Matters

Mind - We are here for you

NSPCC - Advice and support for parents and carers

Age UK - Advice and support for seniors

UK Government - COVID-19 information resources

Beverly Landais PCC

Certified Individual & Team Coach , www.beverlylandais.co.uk

We live in an ever-changing dynamic world. At best, this can be exhilarating and provide excellent opportunities for personal growth. At worst, it can be exhausting and stressful as you try to do it all, which can lead to the feeling that you are doing nothing well. Maybe you are in such a situation? Perhaps you have reached a point where you long to create the life that you want rather than the one that is happening? If so, I may be the right coach to support you. My purpose is simple. I work with people to help them be at their resourceful best. I bring all of my expertise to the service of my clients. My skill set includes 30 years of experience in business, including board level. As a Professional Certified Coach and Positive Psychology Practitioner, I can help you to think your options through, make better choices and do the things that promote wellbeing, bring personal as well as professional satisfaction and make you happy. I am particularly skilled in supporting those who are at a crossroads in their life. My coaching approach can help you gain a clear understanding of your values, motivators, drivers, strengths and consider the impact of blind spots – and what you can do to mitigate these. I work via video calls, by phone and email. Should you wish to arrange a 30-minute complimentary discovery session, please contact me via connect@beverlylandais.co.uk

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