An accurate title would have been “How I went from panicking all the time to panicking only 80% of the time“, but that was a mouthful and I wanted a more zingy title to reel you into my blog.
So now that you are here and I have sunk my rather beautiful claws into your hand, let’s start by emphasising on how much I panic. I panic, like PANIC and imagine that in sparkling neon text, underlined twice and in bold. It’s not as though I enjoy living in a constant state of waiting for the other shoe to drop and worrying myself to a frenzy of some severely disturbing thoughts. The panic just creeps in or at times hit me like a wave that popped out of nowhere.
The question that I keep asking is what to do with this Panic-Ninja? The answer is simple and not-so-simple at the same time… like every other thing in life.
Back in my UG years I was dabbling in Psychology from time to time and remember running into the concept of intrinsic and extrinsic loci of control and wondering which one I fell into. (I wasn’t wondering. I knew it was the one that came with the largest pile of issues.) A rotten Julian B. Rotter (I kid, the guy was probably nice) developed the concept of this extent to which one believes they can control the things happening to them. Basically, if you think you are in complete control of the events in your life you can stamp yourself with the intrinsic loci of control. On the other hand, if you think your environment, religious deities, fate etc. control your life then tada you belong to the extrinsic bunch! I am aware that there is a 28-item measuring scale of Internal Control Index that can be used to find out where you fall on it. You can do this for fun, but it really doesn’t tell you much as I fear it tends to aggregate your experiences as opposed to looking at them on a case by case basis.
I used to think that my loci of control was entirely internal, which was further backed up by my atheist ways. If you ask me now, I may be forced to draw a Venn diagram and subject you to my babble.
Like I said, our experiences don’t always fall into neat bundles that can be easily categorised. In some situations I am in control of my actions and the consequences of those actions to an extent. In other situations, my hands are tied. And perhaps that’s the way it should be? I fear what I didn’t grasp a couple of years, or even a couple of months back was that despite being in control of my own steps I can neither control what someone else does nor can I bear the weight of their actions on my shoulders as though it was under my control. This latter notion is so liberating that I am surprised it took me this long to realise it.
I can’t panic and plan for every possible contingencies that I can think of because I am not living in a vacuum or space, though I would like to live on Mars (NASA make this happen). What I can do is make sure things are functional on my end and make an educated guess on the likelihood of shit hitting the fan. And then try to worry a little bit less. If all else fails listening to Calm is surely helpful or breathing or just planning on being a hermit works fine as well.