Focusing on the things you can control during times of crisis will make you happier and healthier overall…
As we are all finding out with COVID-19, sometimes life can rapidly change in very unexpected ways.
In times of uncertainty, it is important to focus on what you can control instead of the things that you can’t control.
It negatively affects our higher cognitive functions when we focus on things that we can’t control. For example, we can’t control the behavior of others. We can’t control people who are hoarding everyday essentials. We can’t control school closures.
When we try to control things that we can’t control, it stresses us out and makes us feel out of control.
According to Yale Professor Amy Arnsten, once you start to feel stressed or out of control, your brain switches from a thoughtful, reflective state to a more unconscious, reflexive state.
During uncontrollable stress, your prefrontal cortex’s abilities start to decline. Your prefrontal cortex is responsible for higher cognitive functions such as reasoning, decision making, insight about oneself or others, and moderating social behavior.
So we get caught up in this vicious cycle where we get stressed and frustrated over things we can’t control, our higher cognitive functions start to decline, which feeds into us getting even more stressed and frustrated over the things we can’t control. Rinse and repeat.
If you want to be happier and healthier, you have to learn to let go. This starts with having a clear understanding of the things you can and cannot control.
It also starts with understanding that no matter what choices you make, no matter how great or terrible things are, life is going to happen. If you believe that everyone is entitled to feel happy and comfortable at all times, you’re going to be even more upset when life slaps you in the face.
If you can focus on the things you can control and own your power, you will be able to think about productive things such as actions you can take instead of getting emotional over the slap itself.
There should be a “why” for every action. If you are exerting energy on something, you need to be able to ask yourself if that something is serving you or others.
A wise man once said that life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it. If you can accept responsibility for everything in your life, it will be a game-changer for you because it gives you all the power.
No matter what life throws your way, you get to decide what your destination is and how you’re going to get there. You get to make changes when things are going in a direction that you don’t like.
That is what determines your future. Your future is not determined by your past, it’s determined by your present.
This means you have the ability to make choices every single day that can change your future. It’s truly an amazing gift that I hope you choose to accept rather than let it sit up high on a dusty shelf somewhere.
Now own your power and start living life like you mean it.