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Action is the antidote to anxiety - Focussing on things in our control

Many things keep happening around us. We can control somethings and most things are not in our control.

If we take a look at the year gone by the pandemic came out of the blue. It upended lives everywhere. The spread of the pandemic was not in an individual’s control. We could do nothing about it on a large scale. But there were many things that were in our control. Once the scientists and the medical personnel explained the virus to us, masking when going out, avoiding large gathering, hand hygiene were things in our control. Those were the things we needed to focus and getting it right to avoid catching the infection. Some might have caught the infection despite doing all this. But the probability of us not catching the infection was always higher if we followed the precaution.

In almost every situation in our lives, we will be caught between focusing on things in our control and those not in our control. Weather, other people’s thoughts/feeling/behaviour, delays to results, the outcome of our work are some examples of stuff not in our control. If we constantly focus on other people’s behaviour we may set ourselves up for disappointment. If we think all our efforts should result in the success we may be let down.

Our efforts are in our control. We focus on that. We give opportunities the best from our side. Our behaviour to a large extent is in our control. We focus on that. People around me will talk, behave the way they want to. I cannot change that. What do I want to do in this situation? My response is in my control. I can make choices here.

When we focus on things, not in our control we feel helpless and hopeless. When confronted with adversity the best questions to ask ourselves is “What are my choices here?” “What can I do here?” That will bring the issues in our control into sharp focus. When we concentrate on those issues, we regain a sense of control. When we focus on things in our control we can take action. We cannot stop the rain, we can carry an umbrella. We cannot prevent a flat tyre, we can carry a Stepney. We cannot prevent infection, we can wear a mask. Action is the antidote to anxiety.

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