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I recently learned a useful phrase for dealing with worry from a friend of mine (I think she borrowed it from Stephen Covey). It’s been really helpful, so I am passing it along to you.

Remember the old term “worrywart” as in “She is such a worrywart—she’s always worried about something”?  Well, guilty as charged. I’ve been the queen of worrywarts most of my life.

There are so many things to worry about, and almost all of them are out of our control.  I think this is particularly true in farming, where weather, prices, input costs, tariffs, regulations, supply chain—all of these things are outside any producers control.

What is “In the Circle”?

It’s hard to stop worrying, though.  That’s where my friend’s phrase comes in handy. When I’m ruminating over something stressful, she asks me “Is it in the circle?”

Things that are “in the circle” are things that I have some control over. If something is not in the circle, worrying about it isn’t helpful. Her next question is “What is in the circle?”   What about this situation do I have some control over, and am I acting within that circle? So, for example, high interest rates are not in the circle. But, having a financial advisor I trust, keeping all my financial documents organized, and doing research on good financial strategies—these things are in the circle.  These are things I can do.

Controlling storms and the weather are not in the circle, but having insurance in place and documents safe, preparing my home for the storm, and having emergencies supplies are in the circle.

Most importantly, while I can’t keep stressors from coming my way, I can take care of myself (staying SAFER) so the stress doesn’t make me sick.

When you feel yourself spiraling with worry, try my friend’s strategy. Ask yourself “Is it in the circle?” and if it isn’t, figure out what is in the circle and spend your energy there.

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