Is it possible to remain calm in a world that feels like utter chaos?
When things feel like too much, even perfectly happy people can feel hopeless and like a victim, like the world is working against them. It’s difficult not to feel pain right now, either because of our own situations and problems, or because of the magnitude of the world problems around us.
Maybe we’re just experiencing a new kind of hurt because we cannot go about our normal lives. Or maybe we’re finding ourselves experiencing compassion because of how others around us are hurting. Believe it or not, there is still a tremendous amount of beauty around us, we just have to look for a minute and see it.
When the news is overwhelming you, the emails keep sending you more cancellations and bad news, here are a few quick things you can do to help lift your spirits, reduce stress and remain calm. (all backed by science)
What you focus on will stress you out or will lift you up. You get to choose what you focus on. Choose it wisely, especially right now when we cannot control the events around us. Do you want to feel more pain? Then keep focusing on the things that are causing pain. Do you want to feel more joy and peace? Yes, this sounds simple, but focus on the things that can bring you peace.
A great place to start is to make a list of the things you don’t ordinarily appreciate, but right now are bringing you immense comfort. Such as a warm home. A comfy bed. A hot shower. A best friend to call. A dog to pet. Or a good meal.
Help your brain by intentionally making a list each day of a few simple things that you appreciate.
Offer yourself a little self-compassion and acceptance of how you feel. I recently recorded a podcast episode on self-compassion and I didn’t realize how much we need to be able to accept our feelings. Acceptance doesn’t mean staying stuck in an emotion nor does it mean ignoring how we feel.
Just the opposite in fact. If we take a moment to offer self-compassion, we can actually release some of our emotions and allow our attention to be more productive. This means, instead of ignoring a feeling or resisting a feeling, simply saying out loud to yourself, that “This feeling is normal and OK to feel at this moment” or “I am feeling overwhelmed because of how quickly things are shifting for me right now”. Whatever you are feeling, offer yourself a break. Acknowledge how you feel. And remember, most everyone is feeling something similar. Everyone wants to feel joy and at ease right now, just like you.
People are going to complain and find ways to tear each other down. Unfortunately, this is part of how some ‘humans’ deal with stressful times. Don’t be one of them.
Take time to respond to people. Don’t just react, which is what we typically do. Worst yet, we often have been trained to mindlessly go through life. Now that we are experiencing increased challenges, this mindlessness won’t allow us to communicate with others very effectively.
Most everyone is stressed right now. We’re not alone with challenges. When dealing with others, just take a moment and ask yourself, what is your intention with this conversation. How do you want to see it end? What is your body telling you at this moment and this interaction? Your body can assist you with your response, if you just take a moment to listen.
These skills talked about above are all mindfulness and self-compassion skills that can help in everyday real situations. I’ve been fortunate to have been on a journey the past ten years that have taught me how to help bring these skills to others. I’ve learned many of these skills the hard way by not knowing how to practice them. After being a student first, my goal is to inspire others and help bring out the best versions of themselves, in any situation, particularly right now.