Life is challenging enough at the best of times; add in a little global pandemic, lots of financial uncertainty, keep in mind our personalities; and we can create a perfect storm in our minds. Some of us will have ninja's and talking panda's coursing through our minds of worry, others will conjure up deadly conspiracies, evil governments and too many cows - pursuing the worst-case scenario.
In his book 'The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People' Stephen Covey talked about the concept of the Circle of Concern and the Circle of Influence. The Circle of Concern includes the wide range of concerns you have in your work and life - health, family, finances, national debt, the odd pandemic or two, some wars and a plague of locusts.
The trick is to understand (and accept) what goes on in your Circle of Concern is more often than not outside of your Control.
Pop a circle inside of this, called your Circle of Influence. Now you're rocking - this is where you can actually do something about something.
And right in the centre, is the Control bit - where you actually have control of the what, do's and how's. Clothing, eating, exercise, how you speak, how you act.
What You Need To Do
Let me share a little insight into my daily at home world. "morning honey, how'd you sleep?"
"did you know the Health Minister of Italy died?"
"going to be a fab day"
"until the front comes through"
"I found the shovel I was looking for"
Actually, that last ones an Eeyore quote but you get the picture. I live with unicorns running around my forest, eternal optimism and love the lessons taught by big hairy mistakes. My ex-pilot husband, doesn't believe in unicorns, reflects deeply and often on things he has no possible control over, and on occasions, tends to make me want to get out my shovel and lime. Note: I do live in a heavily wooded area and have an old entrenching tool somewhere.
Do you recall the Owl from Article 1?
"Constantly considering all things way, way outside of their circle of influence and probably need to be dragged into virtual social interaction so that they don't look up recipes for foxgloves just in case the end of the world is nigh."
So, what do we do when we are the 'unicorn believer' or the 'ex- pilot' or we live with an emotional opposite?
We've, (read I) introduced some Rules of Engagement:
Designated Worry Time - ex-pilot can talk to unicorn believer about world disasters (similar to worrying about how you will get the sun to change its rotational direction). And this shall not take place prior to coffee a.m. and not after 4 pm (stress cortisol inhibits sleep Melatonin)
Ex-pilot needs to counter-balance 'shit news' with 'good news'. Death and doom with a side of some flowers.
Ex-pilot should ring his sister and tell her bad stuff (same brush and all that)
Unicorn believer should be a better listener and practice empathy (Peacock/Hawk combo - empathy glass low)
Being a Grown Up
Science is crystal clear. When we worry about things outside of our circles of control and influence, we produce unnecessary doses of cortisol - our fight or flight or freeze drug. Simply put, this inhibits our sleep drug Melatonin; we become fatigued, our cognitive performance decreases, we worry about that; that worries our children, they worry our partners, we become unpleasant to be around and by default, the less people who want to hang with us, the less influential we become and you'll become known as that little ray of 'pitch black'.
Right now, in isolation and uncertainty, there will be a propensity to stay connected through the internet, news agency updates and social media.
The screaming Blue Light Dopamine addiction discussed in Article #2 needs to be taken to the addiction clinic and we need to kick that habit and replace it with another healthier one.
I am not Willy Wonka so this doesn't come with sugar coating. Go outside and lay on the grass, walk around barefoot, watch an old (funny) movie, be a terrific dad, mum, partner, boss, friend or daughter. By being present in your circles of influence and control, each day will provide its own gifts.
"it never hurts to look for sunshine" (unicorn believer) ''embrace the suck" (for the others)
Steven Covey. "We are looking at ways of dealing with reality. We can't stop it raining but we could (choose) to see the rain in a different light".
Article #5 - Dr. David Keane The Art of Deliberate Success