So here we are, first couple of weeks back to work in a new decade and we find ourselves back in our third lockdown. Not the best start to the new Year that’s for sure!
Throughout last year, I delivered a number of live webinar sessions on mental fitness and nurturing a mindset that will help us to cope with the trials and tribulations of this global pandemic.
One thing that I have definitely learned loud and clear, is that in all honesty there are lots of things in life, that we can neither control, influence or change. If you’re a bit of a control freak, like me, it can be difficult to accept that there are times and situations that crop up, that you can’t do anything about.
When we get draw into the rabbit hole of catastrophising about all of the things we can neither control, change or influence we add more layers to those feelings of helplessness and despondency which can leave us feeling exhausted, frazzled and overwhelmed.
For me, I believe it’s critical that we keep focused on what we can control. No matter how seemingly small and insignificant these things are, focusing on what we CAN do helps to put us back in the driving seat and boosts our sense of agency.
What I’m describing here is the ability to interrupt the downward spiral of your negative thinking. Having the awareness to recognise when it’s got you so that you have a chance to pause your thinking for just long enough, to interrupt the cycle. It’s the equivalent of stepping off the hamster wheel for just a moment to clear your head and steady yourself by turning towards the things that you can really do something about.
Here’s some examples of the types of questions that I use when I’m working with someone on a one to one. They might be precisely the sorts of questions that you can ask yourself, compassionately, when you feel that you’re stressed or overwhelmed!
“OK, how am I feeling?” A gentle reminder to acknowledge how you’re feeling. What words would you put around that feeling?
“What parts of this can I do something about?” Gently bring yourself back to things that you can control or influence if you find yourself distracted. Easier said than done I know but stick with it!
“If I knew it would make me feel better what WOULD I do?”
“If I didn’t care what others thought, what WOULD I do?”
“If I was to put myself first, what WOULD I do?”
Even just one or a couple of minutes, to pause and really think about what you can do, begins to put you back behind the wheel of your life. It doesn’t always feel like the easiest thing to do, but I guarantee getting better at finding the small toes holds ALWAYS makes us feel better!