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Worrying: the new hobby for 2021?

Worrying: the new hobby for 2021?

Nicola Hopes

12 January 2021

So, hands up if you thought that the craziness at the end of 2020, had to give way to a more measured and manageable 2021?

It can’t carry on being this chaotic, right?

Ah, apparently it can.

Less than two weeks into the new year we’ve seen lockdown #3 for the UK (complete with home schooling this time – argh!), freezing temperatures, unprecedented political unrest and new, more worrying, strains of COVID-19.

It’s all people can talk about.

But, although it’s easy to get swept away with the news reports (I for one was glued to the newsfeed last Wednesday evening), or buried in the scientific articles and the ‘what if?’ naval gazing, I can guarantee it doesn’t help you.

So much of what’s happening now is out of your control and it’s easy to feel helpless. Or even scared, of what feels like a more dangerous world. But, like a figurative magnifying glass, you enlarge what you focus on. And you have a choice where you place that glass.

Stephen R. Covey, bestselling author of the old, but still relevant book – The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – described the difference between the stuff you can do something about and the stuff you’re worried about in Habit #1 Proactivity:

“Proactive people focus their efforts in the Circle of Influence.

They work on the things they can do something about…causing [it] to increase.

Reactive people, on the other hand, focus their efforts in the Circle of Concern.

The negative energy generated by that focus, combined with neglect in areas they could do something about,

causes their Circle of Influence to shrink.” 

You can hear more about what he has to say on the topic in a short video here.

Give yourself a win

Whilst you can’t (and shouldn’t) ignore any feelings of uncertainty you have; you can choose what you do next. If uncertainty or concern is starting to be a distraction, here’s something you can try over a cuppa (or glass of wine if it’s got to that!).

  1. Write down what’s taking up brain space. I like to mind map on paper, but you can use apps, tablet and pencil, whatever works for you.

  1. Once you have it all down, find the things you have no control over. I then draw a green circle around those things and write ‘ACCEPT’ next to them. There’s something in the act of writing (and the brain seeing) that word that allows you to let go. Hint: you might want to put a big green circle around boat loads of stuff at the moment – and that’s fine!

  1. Next, find the things you can do something about and write down the next tangible step or action that you can take. Small or large. Doesn’t matter.

Already the areas where you can make a difference to seem clearer and feel bigger.

As soon as you can, do the easiest next action on the list – give yourself a win. E.g.: renewing your road tax online takes less than 5 mins (and yes you may have guessed that’s on my list for this week alongside paying my tax bill!).

Rinse and repeat regularly.

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