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Re-framing how we view those things out of our control

Updated: 7 days ago

Molly Weatherby, MS, LPC-S


At this difficult time, we are being bombarded by words like "state of emergency," "natural disaster," and "pandemic." It is only natural to respond with fear, panic, and worry.


As a therapist, I treat people with anxiety and depression, and at this time, I am using all of the strategies in my toolbox for dealing with anxiety. I want to share a tool I find to be especially helpful for myself and for many of my clients during this time.


Areas of Concern vs Area of Control


Loosely based on the work of Stephen Covey, this diagram to the right demonstrates the relationship between the area of concern (our anxiety) versus the area of control circle. Visuals are an effective way for us to think more objectively about what we are going through, and this visual is one I employ to help people with their worries. For each of your worries, consider what is a CONCERN you have. Then ask yourself, what am I able to CONTROL in this situation? You may notice that there’s a big difference between the two. Many people find it helpful to guide their thoughts towards those things that we can control. Most times in life, those things we can control is a much smaller space compared to those things that we are concerned about.


We are fortunate with the coronavirus pandemic that there are many things that we can control: we can control ourselves and our family’s safety, we can follow CDC guidelines, use proper hand-washing and social distancing recommendations. While we certainly have a great deal to be concerned about, ask yourself, is there something more I can do?


Direct your thoughts towards things you have direct control over. When you find those anxious thoughts wriggling into your mind towards a dreary outcome, acknowledge that those thoughts belong only in your area of concern and are not things that you have control over. Have a conversation with yourself about letting those concerns go by putting good thoughts into the world, and focus instead on what you can do to take care of yourself and others. 


Be safe and well.


Molly Weatherby, MS, LPC-S


Molly Weatherby is a New Braunfels Licensed Professional Counselor. She is available to the New Braunfels community by telemedicine as a service to the community during this time.

www.weatherbycounseling.com

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