How to feel less stressed

24 January 2022

January Posts7

We all face uncertainty about the future, but for some people this uncertainty brings higher levels of stress and anxiety than it does for others. But, there is a way that can help you have more control. If we start to put what is causing us stress into three groups, it can help us to understand what we can control, what we can influence, and what we can’t do anything about. There are three circles: concern, influence and control. The smallest one would be your circle of control, the slightly larger circle surrounding your circle of control is your circle of influence, and the largest circle surrounding the two is your circle of concern.

Let’s talk about what each means.

Circle of Concern

This covers absolutely everything that matters to you. It includes things that you can control and influence, but it will always have lots of things that are outside of your influence or control.

For example, you might have a party at the weekend where you have planned to be outside, so naturally you wouldn’t want it to rain. You can’t control the weather, but you still have an interest in how it affects your life. 

You shouldn’t waste your energy worrying about whether it’s going to rain at the weekend because you have no say in this. There is nothing you can do that will change the outcome of the weather, but you have influence or control over other aspects.

Circle of Influence

This covers everything that you have some level of influence over. This is based on the quality of relationships that we have with others, and our ability to build authority with others to gain promises from them. The better our relationship skills are, the bigger the promises we can gain from others. This means we can bring more in from our Circles of Concern and Influence.

Let’s go back to the party example. If you have a great relationship with a friend, who has a large garden area with a gazebo, you might be able to ask them whether you can use the space at the weekend. Because of your relationship, you can bring this into your Circle of Influence, and the weather won’t have as much of an impact on your party.

Circle of Control

This is the smallest circle out of the three. It covers the different aspects of your life that you have some direct control over. This is what we can make happen because of the choices that we make. 

The more we develop and the more skills that we gain, the more we can bring into our Circle of Control from our Circle of Influence. For example, if you learnt carpentry in your spare time, you could build your own gazebo in the back garden for future parties. That way you are only relying on yourself rather than anyone or anything else. 

This makes your Circle of Control bigger.

What is in our Circle of Control is what we should dedicate the most focus to. Your Circle of Influence can also be focused on to bring additional things into your Circle of Control, but it isn’t your main focus. If we only have some level of influence over certain things, it’s not solely down to us. Anything that is in our Circle of Concern that can’t be brought into one of the other circles, like the weather, aren’t things we should stress about or waste our energy over.

Use January as a month to take stock of your life, where you want your life to be, and how you can get there. To find out more about where to go from this point, click here to read our blog on daily habits and how they can help you to achieve your dreams and goals.

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