The Gift that keeps on Giving: Control

Research shows that when we shift our focus to what we can control, we see meaningful and lasting differences in our well-being, health, and performance.

The Coronavirus Anxiety Workbook


We all want control of our destiny, we all want control of our lives

We all want control of each other, we all see the fear in our eyes

Mr. Mister


When bad things happen that we can’t control, we often focus on the things we can’t change. Focus on what you can control; what can you do to help yourself (or someone else) today?



“Unpredictable” is a commonly used term as governments continue to extend our time in pandemic lockdown. We could more easily endure this loss of control over our lives if we knew when the siege will be lifted. Without a date to aim for, it’s difficult to hold hope (even though we know it WILL pass at some point!).

To combat this loss of control and the accompanying threat to our mental health, focus on what you can control. You have choices:

  • Whether to get up in the morning and embrace challenges
  • If you will enjoy the sunshine outside
  • If you will express thanks for what you have
  • To check-in with a peer to determine how you can help
  • To take a first step towards a new goal

The same applies to our approach to dealing with change. When the organization announces a major change that demands we work in new and different ways, it feels like we have lost control over our worklife. For some, that is a very scary place to be. It leads to fear and resistance.

To avoid that negative response, leaders must find ways to place a sense of control back in the hands of their employees:

  • Remind them of the everyday tasks that still need to be performed during transition.
  • Point to customers and colleagues who are still counting us – our actions affect their lives.
  • Identify the skills that employees bring to the change which will help them succeed.
  • Provide opportunities for input into the details of how changes will be applied.
  • Establish channels for questions – and respond quickly.
  • Keep everyone updated on progress and the timeline.

It’s amazing how simple things like communication and consultation create a sense of control.

Exercise your own ability to control your future by empowering others to support your change. Encourage them to embrace their own sense of control. It’s good for our (mental) health!