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The Courage to Change the Things I Can: Part Two of Three

What can you control, and what is out of your control?

Be thorough in your list of what you can’t control because you’re going to use that list when you need a reality check.  If you find yourself getting particularly anxious, it may be because you’re worrying about something that is outside your control.  Use your list as a reference to keep your cool and stay focused where you can actually have an impact.  The goal is to start letting go of what you can’t control.  Make this list as detailed as possible and add to it when you have a new awareness of something outside of your control.

Then, you want to compartmentalize this list.  Compartmentalization is a skill that healthy people often use to put aside feelings and thoughts until a time when they can deal with them more effectively.  To compartmentalize, say to yourself, “Yes, there is stuff happening that is scary, but since I can’t control it right now I will focus my energy where it is useful and where I can actually have an impact.”

Now let’s talk about your list of items that you can control.  This list may contain elements from your personal and professional life.  What is the best use of your time and energy?  Prioritize what is most pressing, critical, and otherwise valuable to you.  Once you know what is most important, you can start creating plans and outlining action steps.  Remember, what you can and cannot control evolves, and you may find that you need to move items between lists.                                         

Click here to see how developing a healthy mindset is key to staying focused on what you can change and control.                                                                                                                                                                                                           

By: Lee Smithson Burd, Ph.D.