How to handle our worries in a healthy way.
With the way the world feels right now, a lot of families, myself included, are feeling the weight of worry hanging down on them and dragging all of us down.
When something like this happens, I try to remember whether or not what I am stressing out and worrying about is something I can even control.
It is important that we learn and help our children learn how to identify things that are within our control or that are outside of our control. This can help children (and teens AND adults) with anxiety, self-control, anger, and issues with accepting personal responsibility.
An activity that we enjoy using in our personal and professional lives is called the Circles of Influence and Control.
The Circle of Influence.
The circle of influence is shown as the larger circle in the “map” and it is filled with the things that are outside of our control: the things that happen around us that we have no power over.
Examples of “influences” can be our skin color, how others feel, whether or not someone else likes us, what others think, and, especially right now, major world events.
By understanding that we have no control over them, we can recognize that worrying about them will not change these factors. They are still very real and very valid worries, though worrying about them takes up valuable head and heart space and it is not productive in the long run.
Worrying about things we can’t control does not change those things. It drains us of energy and makes us feel hopeless.
Circle of Control.
The inner circle of our “map” is the Circle of Control. This is the circle that we fill with everything we have power over, things that we can change, if needed.
Examples of things we can control may include how we feel about something, how we react or respond to something, our bodies, and who we choose as friends.
Worrying about something that lives in the Circle of Control, is something that we have the ability to change. It is something that we can do something about. It can motivate us.
If we can change something, we can make it better, we can do more, it gives us power back over the worry.
Free Circles of Influence & Control Printable
To help with teaching and implementing this idea and activity, we have put together a free PDF blank map and an idea sheet for the circles of influence and control.
We hope that these will be helpful, especially in times of such uncertainty. Getting a little perspective when overwhelmed can make all the difference in the world.