Jul 5, 2022 | Performance Psychology

Control Your Thinking

Uncertain times create mental instability and a moral panic that we can easily interpret as a loss of control. We get caught up in external events and the whole thing can seem overwhelming. As humans, we crave personal control, but once this is lost the natural and easy response is to turn to a dominant leader to avoid responsibility. This is called compensatory control and likely explains why people become born again Christians during adversity. But, while we may not be put at ease turning to Bojo in these troubling times, it is important to separate what is under your control and take responsibility for your mental well-being.

Control what you can control

This sounds ridiculously simple, but you’d be surprised at how effective it is. It is very easy to become angered by the current state of the world and the government response to this pandemic. But, your anger isn’t going to affect anything but your own well-being. This is happening, and unless you’re a government advisor, there’s not a great deal you can do other than staying indoors, rigorous hand washing and trying not to cough over your elderly neighbours’ fence.
There’s almost an assumed expectation that the mind should function well regardless of input. For me, I see the mind like the body. What you put into it will ultimately determine what you get out. Sitting all day on your phone constantly evoking some upward social comparison to influencer’s lives that aren’t even their real lives and expecting to feel good about yourself is equivalent to stuffing your face with chocolate and expecting a beach ready rig. You get out what you put in. So, be mindful that the things you do are going to determine the way you feel. And no, it’s probably not the 5G making you feel that way.
Without shaving my head, putting on an orange robe and climbing to the top of a mountain in Nepal, I’m a big advocate for meditation. It can be both an instant relief and pervasive cognitive change. There are many different types of meditation but the most popular is mindfulness. This is simply being mentally present. Research shows mindfulness to improve productivity, happiness and sleep. If you want to try it out, I recommend apps such as Headspace and Calm that make meditation easy to get into.

Meditation for the mind is what exercise is to the body

There are lots of positives to focus on from this. Yes, not everything is ideal, so it is important to stay positive about other things. The pandemic provides time for you to switch off for a short period, to work on side hustles, new ideas and get in shape.

Instability presents opportunity

Adversity causes some to crack and others to thrive. If you feel like this is all negative, simply reframe the situation and be aware of how you are viewing it. The world is objective but perceived through our own subjective reality, which we have the ability to control and manipulate. Use this time as motivation to get ahead. The pandemic has equalised the playing field and the world isn’t going to stand still while you rack up 11 hours a day screen time. Take control and create something better for yourself.
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