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  • Writer's pictureAlisa

Reclaim What You Can Control

As humans, we are neurologically programmed to seek out certainty and safety - emotionally, physically and mentally. So living through times of uncertainty is HARD because it goes against our biology.

The stress and anxiety that comes with managing 'the unknown' can often wear us down, often more that we even realise. "Uncertainty" triggers a neurological and physiological response in our bodies, and we are not meant to be in this prolonged state for long periods of time.

For me, proactively using little techniques to keep my mental wellbeing in check, helps me from falling into a helpless or negative spiral. One of my favourite techniques is to regularly ask myself, "am I focused on what I can control". During tight COVID restrictions, I did a little exercise with my family and my kids loved it! We simply sat down and made a list of all of the things we could control in our lives - how we set up the kids homeschool zones, what music we played during the day, what physical activities we could do and when, different places in the house we could eat/read/play to change things up, we made a list of all of the friends we could arrange Zoom parties with, and even created a weekly meal planner.

These things are obviously quite simple, but it reminded us all how much control we do have, and the kids thrived in owning and making those decisions, rather than fixating on what they did not have control over. This was excellent during lockdowns, but you can use it at any time to help focus your attention, prioritise or feel more in control when things are difficult or overwhelming.

I used this same technique at work recently, reminding my team that they have control over transitions and breaks in their day, and they should value and exercise that control to maximise rest/ recovery/reflection time throughout their day. Sometimes we can fall into 'auto pilot' routines or stop noticing the choices we do get to make in our lives, so check in with yourself regularly and ensure you're focusing your time, energy and attention on what you can control. When you catch yourself wasting time and attention on things you can't control, think about how you might be able to control your response to that situation, and then how you can help yourself shift back to focusing on what you can control.

In uncertain times when there is a disproportionate amount of things we can't control, don't forget that you can choose to control what you focus on and give your time and energy you. So proactively help yourself to own and make those choices more helpful and positive.


If you enjoyed this article, please pay it forward by sharing it with someone who would benefit! You might also like to grab Alisa's FREE Performance Starter Kit to utilise some powerful resilience, wellbeing and performance resources. And, if you'd like more of Alisa's positive energy and practical expertise, book her as your next In-Person/Virtual Keynote Speaker!

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