In the face or world disasters, personal hardship and events over which we have no control it is easy to feel overwhelmed and powerless.
In this situation I recommend Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
In Habit 1: Be Proactive, Covey recommends that instead of submitting to a general malaise we divide things up into those things over which we have no real control and those things about which we can do something. (The most important one of these of course is controlling how we feel by examining the thoughts we allow ourselves to have but that’s another story!)
Covey suggests that we first note all our concerns (illustrated by the big circle), then pick out the things we can influence (the smaller circle in the middle)
As we take action on the things we CAN influence we feel more empowered and in control. The more action we take the more empowered we feel and this has the effect of enlarging the inner circle and reducing the effect of the bigger one.
Focusing on how impotent we are to change things is disempowering. Focusing on what we CAN do is empowering and allows us to change more than we ever thought possible.
Whenever you feel overwhelmed make three lists:
1. The things you can’t change
2. The things you CAN change
3. The things you can change NOW
Then do some of the things on the third list and you’ll immediately feel better.