It is easy to get overwhelmed with worry, especially in the current crisis. The fear of a worldwide recession, ensuring our children are not falling behind with their learning, our aged parents and how they are coping, the theatre trip that we had booked and now has been cancelled, the dog needs grooming, fear of redundancy, how we are going to pay the mortgage, the list goes on and on.... 
 
No wonder we have trouble sleeping at night and are feeling stressed! 

The Circle of Influence 

This is a great exercise to rationalise what you have control over and what is out of your control. Formulated by Stephen Covey in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (a great book and well worth a read). First of all on a large piece of paper, draw two circles, one within the other and then in the "doughnut", write down everything that concerns or worries you. Here is an example:  
 
The next step is to look at each area and decide whether it is in your control or outside your control. If it is in your control and you can do something about it, draw an arrow from it into the centre. If it is out of your control then draw an arrow to the outside area.  
 
 
In this scenario, I can't do anything about the fact that I'm isolated, I can't do anything about if there is a recession or not. I can't do anything about Covid 19 or the theatre trip I had planned. I can't really do anything about how my parents are coping (other than making sure they have the support they need and connecting with them through zoom, perhaps). I can do something about my mortgage by contacting my provider and asking for a mortgage holiday, likewise with my bills. My health and fitness I can do something about, by not eating 5 packs of crisps a day and doing some exercise! With teaching my children, I can perhaps contact their teacher and see if there is anything else I can be doing to help them and as regards boredom, I could take this opportunity to learn a new skill, play an instrument, catch up with netflix etc... 
 
So now you have your circle of influence, you know what you can do something about - everything else is not your problem! It feels really good to be able to achieve something so by concentrating on what we can do and not on what we can't relieves some of te stress we are under. Give it a go:-) 
 
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