Dealing With Fear and Anxiety

Dealing With Fear and Anxiety

Good morning, good people. And I’m coming to you from our new vegetable garden project. And we’re gonna be chatting to you about something that’s maybe a little bit more stressful than growing vegetables. 

It’s the wave of fear and anxiety that seems to be gripping the world at the moment. If you read our blogs about codeCOVID, you’ll see doctors’ rooms are full of anxious patients. It’s all over social media. And what this does is it creates a type of mental static or mental noise. 

And my problem with that is that it blocks out the actual important natural signals that you are maybe going to be in danger, and it’s energy-draining and it really doesn’t serve your life. 

So what’s to be done about it?

I’m just going to present to you a very simple model, which is an adaptation of Stephen Covey’s circles of influence. It’s just my own way of when I really look through that model it’s my own way of representing it. 

Circle of No Control

And so you see three concentric circles and the outer circle, most far away from you. Covey would have called that your ‘circle of concern’ but in my world, that’s my circle of no control. 

It’s the things I have no control, no influence over. My skills, my resources, cannot touch those things. 

So it might be the economy, it might be the crime rates, it might be global warming, although I suppose if you’re Greta Thunberg, that’s something that she feels she can control, or she can influence. 

But it’s the things that I have absolutely no influence over. And what typically happens is that people become very anxious about it, and, they post all sorts of stuff on social media. And in actual fact, this practice does not serve you and it doesn’t take away your fear. 

In fact, I think it enhances that loop. 

So, we need to acknowledge that those things are there. We can’t deny them, but we need to detach from them. 

Circle of Influence

The next circle is the circle of influence. So here I draw a line in the sand. And I say, here’s the place where I can do battle. I’ve got skills, and I’ve got resources, which I can influence this space around me. 

So if we’re talking about security and safety, this might be adding some extra lights around my house because I will influence the people looking at my home. 

Or I might just be changing my posture because when I want to influence the way people see me, I don’t want to be seen as a victim. 

Or I might be increasing my social distance to try and lower my exposure to COVID. It’s another influence tactic. 

In my case, during the last hard lockdown in South Africa, I felt I didn’t have enough food resources. So if that happens, again, I want to be prepared. So I’m building this vegetable garden because I want to influence my resiliency against lockdown. 

Circle of Control

The last circle, the inner circle is the circle of control. And these are the things that I can directly control. And usually, this doesn’t involve other people. This involves myself. 

So what’s the first thing I can control? 

I can control my breath. There’s something I can take control of my life. 

I can control what I read. I want to read things and expose myself to things that serve me and enhance my life. 

 I can control my health. So that might be getting out for that jog, or actually getting out there and doing that home CrossFit session that you’ve been putting off or that home yoga session, or hitting the bag, if you haven’t been able to attend your martial arts class, or changing what you eat. 

These are things that I can directly take control of, or maybe it’s putting that first aid kit in my kitchen. 

So what do I do? 

I acknowledge the things that I cannot control. And I then detach from them. 

I find things that I have got skills and resources that I can influence around me. That might be people too. It might be just getting a smile out of someone. And then I find the things that I can directly control and this relates to the inner me and my skills and resources around me. 

And then in the words of the great Frank Herbert that wrote Dune, I turned the inner eye to see the path of the fear and hopefully, there will be nothing, only I will remain. 

If this is valuable to you, share it with someone else. Until next time,

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