In the midst of a global pandemic, there are many uncertainties surrounding all of us. Fears about finances, household supplies and food, the health of yourself and family members and the stress of wondering when things will ever be normal again are just a few of the things that make us feel out of control and anxious. So, what are some of the things we can control? And how can we manage our anxiety about the things we cannot control?
In his well-known book “The Seven Habits for Highly Effective People,” Stephen Covey discusses things that are in our circle of concern versus our circle of influence. In the current COVID-19 pandemic, there are a wide range of concerns in which we have no control over, like school and business closures, governmental guidelines and the actions of others. These issues would be placed in the circle of concern. Conversely, there are still many things which are in our control, which can be placed in the circle of influence. A few examples are shown in the graphic below:
Stephen Covey explains “As long as we are working in our circle of concern, we empower the things within it to control us.” However, when we focus on the circle of influence and the things we can control, our circle of concern shrinks! The impact of this can be tremendous, including less anxiety, more positive attitude and energy and influencing others’ attitudes in a more positive way. When we focus on the circle of concern, worry can control us. When we focus on the circle of influence, we have the power!
Information provided by Jennie Edwards, M.A., Predoctoral Psychology Intern, Stephanie Simmons, PsyD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine. For more information, please call 903-877-7000 or visit uthealthnorth.com/services/behavioral-health.