Opinion: We have a lot more control than we think

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Emma O'Connor

The world is up in flames and we all just need to take a deep breath and focus on the things we can do instead of dwelling on everything we can’t.

As of late, all of the news is doom and gloom. With COVID-19, the new supreme court justice, and now the election, it seems like there’s no getting away from it. 

Although it seems like the average person is powerless when it comes to a lot of these events, the reality is that there are a lot of things the average person still has control over. 

With our media overrun by headline after headline of depressing news, it’s easy to get sucked into worrying about things. It’s essential to stop and remember all the things the average Joe has control over during these overwhelming times.

How you choose to react to information is something everyone has control over. There’s no wrong way to react to information, but for the sake of your mental health, it’s best not to dwell. It may be difficult to stop ruminating, so try distracting yourself with positive things. Hobbies, movies, friends, family, and exercise are all good options. 

We can also control our information intake. It may feel like you need to stay up to date with all the news, but it’s more important that you’re in the right mindset to take in all of it. If you feel overwhelmed, taking a break from social media can help. The news will still be there tomorrow. 

Exercise is yet another thing everyone has control over. Aside from the benefits of exercise on your health, it also has a significant mental impact. Exercise can reduce anxiety, depression, and can even help you sleep better. Even if the gyms are closed, trails and streets are still open to walk or run. If worse comes to worst, there’s always the option of setting yourself up in front of a computer and doing a workout routine inside.

Lastly, we all get to choose how we spend our time. Yes, it’s simple, but it’s vital that we all understand it. Of course, there’s the obvious interpretation of this statement: Spend your time doing things you enjoy. While this is important, there’s another meaning behind this statement that is even more significant.

Let’s say that you have to spend a couple of hours doing homework when you would rather be spending your time on other things. You get to decide your mindset while going about completing your work. Sure, you can decide to be upset about having to spend your time doing homework; that’s totally valid. However, it is much more enjoyable if you think about your homework as an opportunity to learn, instead of just another task that needs to be done.

Our world has gotten a little overwhelming recently, so it’s important to keep in mind that even though it seems like nothing’s in our control, we have a lot more power than we think.

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