The current pandemic we are in has reminded me that as humans we really don’t like ambiguity and uncertainty – we like to have answers to our questions; solutions to our problems; explanations to situations. Many of us find it distressing when faced with the unknown. In psychology, the term for this is ‘Cognitive Closure’, which describes humans’ desire to eliminate ambiguity and arrive at definite conclusions.
Given that the current situation has exacerbated the less than certain world we live in, what are we to do when it is in our human nature to seek out certainty?
Recently, I’ve found it helpful to remind myself of Stephen R. Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Although I read the book a while ago, the insights have fresh application during lockdown. Covey highlights that the world around us is made up of 2 factors – the things we can control and the things we can’t.
Covey uses 2 circles to explain what this means for us – the Circle of Concern and the Circle of Influence. The Circle of Concern covers everything in our life that affects us. The Circle of Influence, on the other hand, includes everything within our life that we can impact or effect. We could add another inner circle – the Circle of Control. In the Circle of Control we decide what we want; we are in charge.
During those times when our Circle of Concern may be causing a lot of worry and our Circle of Influence seems more limited than normal, it can be helpful to focus on our Circle of Control.
We can (usually) control what time we go to bed, what we eat, if we exercise each day, how much news we watch, who we connect with and how we interact with people. Asking yourself the question – ‘What can I control?’ and then acting on those things can give us some certainty in a time when there is a lot we are unsure of.
While it is normal to feel some worry at this time, if you are struggling to control your worry then why not book in with one of our highly trained, skilled Psychologists to help you get it under control?
Katelyn (M Clin Psych, BA (Hons – First Class), MAPS) has experience working at a leading university research clinic in the area of anxiety disorders, as a school counsellor and in private practice work for adult mental health in the the North Shore area of Sydney. Katelyn is committed to establishing a strong therapeutic relationship with her clients by providing them with a safe and secure space to share their story. As a mother of school aged children with a busy load herself, she is well positioned to understand the challenges faced in doing life, school and work.
Katelyn’s approach takes an evidence-based focus, while maintaining a flexible and collaborative manner, to ensure that treatment is in line with her clients’ needs. She uses a range of evidence-based interventions, including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) and supportive counselling with the overall aim of helping people of all ages utilise their strengths to achieve their desired outcomes and enhance their quality of life.
Katelyn is the wife of an Anglican Minister and has a particular interest in supporting clergy wives and families cope with the challenges that ministry can present.