Control What You Can

We all like to have control over our life, control over what happens to us. Some things we can control. Some things we cannot. It can help our stress level if we focus on what we can control and try not to worry so much about those things that we can’t.

We have control over our beliefs, our thoughts, and our actions. We have control because we choose our beliefs, our thoughts, and our actions. These choices might not always be conscious, but they are still our choices. This means that we can change our beliefs, our thoughts, and our actions. It might not be easy, but we can do it. When we make conscious choices, we are also choosing to have control.

There are things we cannot control. We cannot control nature, for example. Probably the most important thing we need to remember is that we cannot control other people. We can try to influence them. We can try to manipulate them (although I do not recommend that). Ultimately, however, their choices are theirs, and thus they have control over their beliefs, thoughts, and actions.

In difficult times, it can be helpful to focus on what we can control (ourselves) rather than trying to control what we cannot (other people).

As an example, I could, if I focused on it, find it extremely stressful that some people do not take COVID-19 seriously and do not social distance and wear masks when appropriate. Although I can try to influence them by talking to them, by setting a good example, often it does not have an impact. I cannot force them to change their actions, or the beliefs and thoughts behind those actions.

What I can do is control my behaviors. I can social distance and wear a mask. Often, I can avoid being with people who do not do the same or at least limit the time spent with them. I can choose to socialize with people who take the same precautions as I do. I can choose to patronize business that take appropriate precautions to keep their customers and employees safe. These choices give me control over the safety of my environment, and thus my health.

If I focused on what I cannot control, it would drive me crazy. By focusing on what I can control, however, it reduces my stress. It makes my life better.

The concept of controlling what you can, and letting go of what you cannot, is one that can be applied to any situation in life. It does not mean that you do not care, it just means that you are doing something to reduce your stress and to make your life better.

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