Act or let it go?

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There is an apocryphal story told about a very old man who is lying on his deathbed. As he quietly slips away, he reflects … “I have had a lot of things to worry about in my life … most of which never happened!” This story illustrates a common problem which impacts many, many people - worrying about things beyond their control. Anxiety.

Here are some things we can control - ‘my thoughts and actions’, ‘what I give my energy to’, ‘how I speak to myself’, ‘the goals I set’, ‘how I spend my free time’, ‘how I handle challenges’ and ‘my boundaries’.

Here are some which are out of our control - ‘the actions of others’, ‘the past’, the opinions of others’, ‘what happens around me’, the outcome of my efforts’, the future’, how others take care of themselves’ and ‘what others think of me’.

The problems arise when we embrace things beyond our control and start worrying over them. Anxiety.

Many students - new to university life - find it to be an anxious time. Listening to many as they speak of this experience it becomes apparent that they are taking up the burden of things beyond their control and worrying about them.

So, in these early days. Stop. Think … is this a thing I can control, or should I let it go? And act accordingly.

It won’t solve every issue, but it should lower anxiety and stress levels quite significantly. And if you cannot tell which category an issue comes into - come and talk. There is always a listening ear (and a coffee) at the chaplaincy.

David Pattie


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