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Focus on what you can control

August 21st, 2020

Categories: Blog

Hello there! How are you feeling today?

Take a moment to check in with yourself and ask this question.

For me? Today is one of my better days, but I’ve certainly had some days in the last few months that haven’t been as great. It is really important right now to remember that having emotions which might feel a little all over the place is completely normal and there are so many people sharing the same experience.

It’s easy at the moment to feel as though there is so much going on that is outside of our control, and I feel that way some days as well. It’s important to remember that there is also so much that we can control – and when we focus on those things, it can really help bring back a sense of stability and security, mentally, physically and emotionally. Below is a little list of some of the things we can focus on every day that we have complete control over.

Things we can control:

  1. Getting out of bed in the morning
  2. Drinking enough water
  3. Moving your body
  4. Opening your curtains and a window to let some fresh air in
  5. Brushing your teeth
  6. Eating healthy foods
  7. How many times you smile today
  8. Asking for help when you need it
  9. How kind you are to yourself today
  10. How often you practice gratitude

See if you can think of 3 more things…what else do you have control over?

When we focus on what we can control, it helps us feel more grounded and secure in who we are and whatever our situation might be. This also means you are investing in your physical, mental and emotional health – which is one of the best investments you can make.

The cool thing about looking after our mental, emotional and physical health is that we can control all three of those states of being if we focus on shifting one of them. For example, if you are feeling tired mentally and find yourself struggling to focus on school work – rather than trying to change your mental state, you can focus on shifting your physical or emotional state instead… that could look like moving your study space to a different area, standing up for a stretch and glass of water or simply giving yourself 5-minutes to listen to one of your favourite songs that never fails to put you in a good mood. By changing your physical or emotional state, you’ll notice that your mental state changes as well. If you change one, you can change all three.

Change one, change all three.

This strategy is kind of like a new pair of shoes. When you first start wearing them, they can feel a little tight and maybe they rub in the wrong places – but when you push through and keep wearing those shoes, they mould to your feet and become super comfortable! This is the same as when we learn a new strategy, when we first start using it, it can feel a little awkward – but the more we practice and give it a go, the more normal and natural it will feel. Below is an exercise you can use that just takes 10-seconds and can help refocus and reset your headspace.

Refocus Exercise:

  1. Sit up nice and straight in your chair; imagine there is a piece of string pulling the top of your head and keeping your spine nice and straight;
  2. Picture a peaceful place (this can be anywhere you feel calm and in control… but not your bed!);
    What does your peaceful place look like? Smell like? Sound like? Allow yourself to build a picture in your mind. My peaceful place is the beach: the sun is shining, there is a beautiful cool breeze and I can hear seagulls flying ahead as I watch the waves crash on the shore… ahhhh so calm!
  3. Take a deep breath in;
  4. Release your breath and make sure you relax your shoulders and chin (two places we often hold tension without even realising!);
  5. Begin whatever task you want to focus on

Remember, focus on what you can control and next time you’re feeling overwhelmed or sluggish or unmotivated – ask yourself, is this physical, mental or emotional? Change one, change all three.


Article by Skye Hughes

Syke Hughes is a Melbourne-based teacher author of upcoming children’s book, We’re All In This Together. Her mission is to write an engaging content using the power of storytelling to explore the impact of Covid-19, in a way that asks us to reflect on our own experiences, promotes resilience and serves as an essential reminder that we really are all in this together.

IG: @byskyehughes


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