Are you feeling overwhelmed?
Stressed? Worried? Anxious?
There are times in your life when you can feel such intense overwhelm that it seems impossible to quieten your thoughts for long enough to be able to see a way through.
It’s hard to allow yourself to aside time to sit still when you’re spinning in overwhelm. But please, give yourself 20 minutes to complete this exercise to help you take back control.
It’s short and simple but very effective. It will help you identify what is within your control so that you can let go of what is not.
(Grab a FREE workbook to guide you through these tips.)
STEP 1: WHAT’S ON MY MIND?
Make a list of all the things that are contributing to your worries and feelings of overwhelm. Everything.
It could be that you’re worrying about work issues, lack of work or financial worries. You might be worrying about someone you care about, what’s going to happen during Covid, appointments you need to make, feeling tired, feeling unwell, things you think you should be doing, feelings of guilt etc.
ACTION: Take the time to write EVERYTHING down no matter how small, irrational or ridiculous it might seem right now. Emptying this list onto paper is a very effective way of clearing that incessant chatter in your head.
Done? Great. These are your WORRY ITEMS.
STEP 2: EXERCISE — CONTROL, INFLUENCE OR CONCERN
In your workbook, on the Circle of Influence image (page 6) you’ll see a larger version of the 3 circles or sections pictured below.
We’re going to categorise each WORRY ITEM into one of these three headings.
1. This is within my control (CONTROL)
2. I can influence this (INFLUENCE)
3. Everything else (CONCERN)
ACTION: Now work through the list of WORRY ITEMS you prepared in STEP 1. Which Section do they fit?
1. Circle of Control:
- Do you have complete CONTROL over the worry item?
- Can you resolve it on their own without needing anyone else’s help or input?
If so, write the Worry Item down within the first circle labelled “WITHIN MY CONTROL” and move onto the next item.
2. Circle of Influence:
- Do you have PARTIAL control or can you INFLUENCE the outcome of the worry item?
- Can you partly resolve the worry item or can you influence the outcome through their actions or behaviour?
If so, write this item within the second circle labelled “I CAN INFLUENCE” and move onto the next worry on your list.
3. Circle of Concern: Everything else…
- Is the worry item COMPLETELY OUTSIDE of your CONTROL INFLUENCE?
- Is there nothing you can do or say that could directly impact this worry?
Write this item in the outside circle labelled EVERYTHING ELSE
Work through your list and write each of your WORRY ITEMS in the circle that represents if you can CONTROL it, INFLUENCE it or it’s everything else (CONCERN).
STEP 3: TAKING CONTROL
Once you’ve placed all of your ‘Worry Items’ in the circles, take a few moments to review your Circles of Influence.
- List the worry items you DO have CONTROL over
- IDENTIFY one ACTION,however small, for each item.
TIP: It’s helpful to action ONE of these today…or even RIGHT NOW. You’ll feel instantly feel better.
STEP 4: PLANNING TO INFLUENCE
Now, let’s review the items you have INFLUENCE / PARTIAL control over:
Write down what steps you will take and exactly when you will do them — today or in the next few days.
STEP 5: LETTING GO
Finally…and most importantly…
LET GO of EVERYTHING ELSE!
This is the most difficult part for many of us. But remember, you’ve already assessed that you have no control over these items. So why hold on? Why let them take up time on you list and on your mind?
QUESTION: How does it FEEL to LET GO of things you have no CONTROL over?
TIP: If you’re using the Workbook, after striking out the Everything Else items, you could cut out around the edge of the grey INFLUENCE circle. Then keeping the CONTROL and INFLUENCE circles, scrunch or tear up the rest of the page and put Everything Else in the bin. This is a powerful way to LET GO.
Grab the gorgeous free workbook here.