Before specialising in meditation I studied psychology and spent several more years working in mental health. I started writing this blog while working for the mental health charity MIND, and the earlier posts reflect that work.
Back then, I wrote more often about topics such as self help, psychology and science. Today, and for some time now, my focus and enthusiasm has been on meditation, mindfulness and the arts, yet many of the practices and approaches I used while in psychology are still beneficial today. So much so that they seem to operate in the background, quietly helping without being apparent.
There is great value to be had in exploring the many different healing, and therapeutic modalities out there and I felt inspired to share a technique with you, that came up in a group I shared recently. It’s called the circle of influence.
The circle of influence is an idea I came to learn about through the writer Stephen Covey. Covey suggests that it can be a good idea to differentiate between those things we have influence over and those things that are a little out of our influence, things that are of concern.
Here is how I would suggest using the circle of influence:
1.Write down a list of the things that are concerning you.
2.Draw out the circles (see picture)
3.Go through your list, adding each written point to the appropriate circle depending on whether it is something that you can influence or something you have concern about. For example, for me an area of concern might be, ‘the amount of pollution plastic in the sea’. And the area of influence might be ‘how I practice recycling at home.’
The premise of the exercise is, that if we can see clearly which areas of life are under our influence and which aren't, we can stress a little less and choose to focus our attention of fulfilling those things that we can do to make a difference.
Perhaps as time goes on our circle of influence might expand to include a few more things.
It can feel quite empowering to acknowledge where we can best spend our energy.
I hope you enjoy the circle of influence,
With all good wishes