A classic human instinct is trying to control what is impossible to control to then become upset that we cannot while simultaneously ignoring all that we have control of in our lives. Now more than ever we are being tested to seek out what we can actually control and to try to be at peace with what we cannot. Seems fairly straightforward.
Only we are human, and we are flawed.
This is not a cliché poem spoken at weddings, or new age mantra to tape to our bathroom mirror. We have to internalize that we are generally not in control. And now more than ever that philosophy is all too obvious. Sometimes it feels like we are ‘slacking’ or being complacent if we are not desperately working and dedicated to worrying about what is essentially out of our hands. If we shrug and surrender than it might appear that we are indifferent, caviler, or insensitive. Worse, it might feel as if we are out-of-touch and therefore ignorant of the realities around us. Meanwhile, our baseline health may be suffering because we are forgoing taking care of ourselves, and those around us the best we can.
So what is a panicked person to do?
Right now it’s a matter of thinking large and small. Step back and look at the big picture of this moment in time, and while the future and trajectory are unknown, we have been in this place before and gotten through it. If you have experienced other world events, cultural shifts or major societal changes, you are still here reading this so you must have survived.
Think smaller by zooming in on your daily habits. Are you taking control of your sleep patterns, amount of water consumed, dietary choices and exercise plan? You are in charge. Harness that power and being in the best physical state possible.
Now is a time to recognize how often we subconsciously understand that we are not only not in control, we surrender critical decisions to others. If you have ever flown in a plane, driven on a road, had a medical procedure done, eaten at a restaurant, had your hair cut, stayed in a hotel or traveled to a new destination, you fundamentally know how to surrender. Just make the conscious decision to do that now.
It does not mean you should not be concerned with the world around you, and it is valid to have anxiety. Just knowing that there are things you can do, and things you just have to wait and see about are part of the deal. While you are waiting, take the gift of time and space that we have right now. When in life do we collectively hit the pause button, reflect, assess and have the chance to plan for what we want to do and do differently in the future? That time is now.