Can you do something about it?
We all go through periods in our lives where we feel like we lost control. Mary felt like she lost control when she got laid off her job due to an unexpected turn of events. Even though it wasn’t her dream job, and she was planning on quitting one day and pursuing her passion of becoming a chef, she didn’t see it coming. She wasn’t prepared. She didn’t have a plan and the changes around her were scaring her. She had no idea what to do. Mary started having panic attacks and her anxiety made her doubt everything she knew about herself. She had fallen deep into the rabbit hole.
Falling into the rabbit hole is finding yourself in the unknown.
So what can you do to avoid the rabbit hole? What can you do to avoid the unknown?
1. Do a threat assessment
Stop asking yourself ‘What if’ questions and stop visualizing alternative comfortable situations. This is not going to happen, and you will never be able to go back in time. Instead, make a logical and clear assessment of the situation you are currently in. Break down the problem and analyze different parts of it, leverage prior experience to calmly size up challenges.
2. Emphasize the positive and focus on what you can control
Ask yourself whether you can change anything about the situation you are currently facing. If the answer is no, look for other areas where you can do something. If the answer is yes, then focus on gaining back control of your situation. Mary had definitely lost her job; and she really wanted to become a chef, so what could she do about that situation, how could she become the chef she has always wanted to become?
3. The secret to calm and focus is in knowing the next step
Remaining calm and focused can be difficult in situations of panic, in fact, many people believe claim to have lost their path and have no idea where they’re going. Ignore unhelpful thoughts: thoughts that are leading nowhere and are feeding on your fear of the unknown. Make a decision and focus on the next step, stop trying to solve the large problem and the big picture; knowing your next step will put you back in the driver’s seat.
Every time you find yourself in an uncomfortable or panic situation, ask yourself: What can I do about it? Detail and write down your answer, it will reveal every step that you should take.