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Your wellbeing

Focusing on what you can control

When things don’t go our way, or as we’ve planned, it’s easy to fall into a pattern of wrong thoughts. We focus on ideas we have no power over and begin to fixate on everything that is not working in our favour. We can become engaged in a negative thought pattern of predicting all the bad things that could happen which clouds our judgement, makes us lose focus and begin to lose control.

Shifting focus

When you find yourself transitioning from a positive state of mind to a negative one, there are ways you can stop this in its tracks. As soon as you recognize this happening, it’s time to ask yourself three questions:

  1. What am I worrying about?
  2. What is within my control?
  3. What matters to me the most and what can I do about it?

By shifting your focus from what you can’t control to what you can control, you will begin to feel empowered and this will trigger your positive emotions to kick back in.

At any stage in your life, you will find yourself in one of four mental states:

Wasting your energy:

When you fixate on things you can’t control, you’re ultimately wasting mental energy on factors that will not progress you further.


Ignoring what is out of your control is also classed as a negative thought. You are avoiding factors that may ultimately affect you, so it’s important to be aware of them, but do not give them your undivided attention.

Wasting opportunities:

Ignoring what is in your control means you are wasting opportunities. When you are capable of choosing how you spend your time and what factors to concentrate on, you should focus your energy on being productive.

In a positive state of mind:

When you focus on what is in your control, you’re in the driver’s seat. This is when you are thinking rationally and being intentional about your attitude. You’re deciding where to spend your energy and this means you are motivated, positive and energised.

The key is to try and steer away from the first three mental states and maintain a positive state of mind. This is not always easy to do, but the first step is recognizing what state you’re currently in. You can then begin to ask the 3 questions and make positive decisions.