Hardly a day passes without reference in the news to mental health problems, especially in children and young people. We are living through difficult times in an atmosphere of conflict and anxiety about issues such as Brexit, the climate emergency, war in the Middle East, knife crime……and so on. No wonder we are feeling the strain.
What can we do to protect ourselves from the psychological harm of feeling too much concern about things over which we have almost no control?
Stephen Covey’s concentric circles of concern and influence can help – see my version above. Concentrate your energy on those things you can control or influence. Ok, you can’t solve the climate emergency, but you can recycle more, drive your car less, join wildlife campaigns and lobby your MP. Similarly, with Brexit, you can join in petitions and marches, and use your vote when you get the chance.
But we also need to do the small things in our own lives that will help to ameliorate this corrosive atmosphere and protect our young people from the psychological danger of excessive concern without influence.
Do what you can to look after your and their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing: eat good food, take exercise, walk in the fresh air, get enough sleep, make time for friends, family and fun, have some news-free days, go to the cinema, read a book, take up a new hobby, go to a yoga class…….it’s all small stuff but it can take the edge off the big issues. For more coping strategies, try my SPICE questionnaire.