What Can You Control?
Hurricane Dorian has been sitting in the Atlantic ocean threatening the east coast of Florida for days. Florida residents have been wondering whether to stay or to go as hurricane Dorian teases them; moving slowly, changing directions, and increasing and decreasing its wind speeds. It's enough to drive anyone to the brink of insanity. I am one of those Florida residents, just waiting to see what hurricane Dorian does and on my hurricane resume stands Andrew back in 1992. So I know all too well what a hurricane is capable of doing.
Like me, I am sure many Florida residents and their far off families are experiencing anxiety over this hurricane because of its uncertainty. Now let us remember that anxiety is not an emotion, it is a reaction to an emotion, that emotion being fear. We fear the unknown because we can't control it. Ironically, when I treat clients with anxiety, I use the example of preparing for a hurricane. I ask them "when preparing for a hurricane, what can you control?". The client often answers that they would seek shelter, board up their home's windows, buy canned foods, buy bottled water, batteries, candles, sandbags and bag up their important documents in zip locked bags. The client has done everything that is within their power to control, the rest is up to God.
At some point we have to tell ourselves that we have done everything that we can control, in the situation. At some point we have to relinquish that control and let nature take its course. It is when we think we can control everything and hold to that notion, that we find ourselves out of control. Now instead of getting a hold of ourselves, we can even go into full blown panic. Instead, stop, think, and reassure yourself that you have done everything that is within your power and then give it away...because at this point, there is nothing else you can do, that within itself is powerful.
So the next time you find yourself having anxiety, in fear of what is going to happen, ask yourself "what can I control?" and hopefully you'll realize you have more than you thought.
Sending you peace and blessings,
And prayers to the Bahamas and Florida residents,
Claudia Abalo, LMHC