Understanding the circle of concern and control

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By N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe

New Delhi– Maintaining one’s own equilibrium, is usually a challenge, even for the lionhearted amongst us. In these times of great fear about health, the health of loved ones and that of the world in general, Pragati Sureka Clinical Psychologist shares how to strengthen our emotional ability to handle daily challenges.

While there are various ways to achieve it, research shows that identifying factors that we can control and those that we cannot is a good place to start, to enhance our mental strength and build resilience. Most of the challenges and issues in life, our problems and opportunities that we encounter can be divided into 2 circles — one that we can proactively control and one that we can do nothing about. The probability of control opens up because in some avenues, we can make choices to get what we want. To understand which avenues are these, let’s delve into the concept of circle of concern and circle of control.

The Circle of Concern includes all the things in our life that we are interested in or that we feel, impact us, once we are aware of them. Most things that we see in the world around us and that catches our attention, tend to fall in this circle. This circle encompasses what we read about in the media like statistics, tweets of world leaders, lifestyle tidbits of celebrities, which political party will win the election, draught in Africa, national debt, our economy, salaries of others and all the little and big things that worry us or bother us, but which are beyond our realm of control. So, when we ruminate about things in this circle, it is usually futile and makes us feel debilitated, drained, helpless and weak.

Some of the issues in our circle of concern go into our circle of influence, when we do something about it. Let’s say extensive deforestation bothers you. When you just worry about it, without doing anything about it , it remains in your circle of concern. But, if you start planting trees and even perhaps, start a social media campaign about how deforestation is impacting us and motivate your peers to plant trees too, you would have moved the issue of deforestation into your circle of influence from the circle of concern.

Our circle of control includes most things that we can directly control with our thoughts, actions and body language. It includes things like our thought patterns, our daily self care routine, exercise, sleep, food we eat, how we communicate with others, the hardwork we put in to achieve our dreams and our emotional intelligence skills. Our circle of control gives us ample scope to be proactive and do something concrete about our challenges. We can focus on making healthy choices like effective communication at home and work, maintaining a good sleep schedule, eating nutritious food and thinking helpful thoughts, setting a fixed worry window, daily exercising etc. to improve our quality of life.

Awareness of our circle of control helps us have a healthy attitude. We are ready to pick up skills to better our financial, environmental and emotional health. Further, we are able to remain in a a responding mode instead of a reactive one. We can then keep the remote control of our inner equilibrium in our hands, rather than going to pieces, every time, someone says something to us or something happens in the world around us. We face daily hurdles with an enthusiastic and positive mindset as we know we can cope, in spite of difficulties. Over time, this enriched way of thinking and living, becomes our habit and it seems natural to maintain one’s poise and experience sound mental health and emotional well-being.

When we focus on our circle of control, we use our energy wisely and reap rich benefits in all spheres of life. We pay attention to the problem at hand and work at it . Further, we do not blame others as we feel like masters of our own destines. We learn and live this adage “Have an issue, give an ear to it”. (IANS)


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