I think there is something in the air recently. In my own business there has been an eerie stillness . . . . a feeling of constriction, as if I am waiting to inhale again. So I’ve done what I usually do, I reach out and talk to others. As a result, I have discovered that others are feeling it, too. It seems the pressures of a long down economy, the extreme discord in the U.S. government, the polarization of political and social ideologies and the chaos and violence happening on the world stage is piling up and wearing us down. Are you feeling it?
With the 24/7 barrage of images and stories of violence and hate from the media, it’s a wonder we all aren’t drowning in the murky waters of societal depression. I know better than to watch the news. I realized several years ago that the news is not a public service. The news is big business and the commodity it sells is FEAR. Watching it isn’t good for me. When I watch it too often, I get hypnotized by the fear and start worrying . . . a lot. My focus shifts from what is beautiful and going right in my world to what boogeymen might be hiding around every corner and every possible thing that could go wrong. It’s exhausting.
The interesting thing is that the more negative I become about what is going on in the world and think things like “What is wrong with people?” and “What is this world coming to?”, the more news I watch . . . and then the more negative I become . . . and, well you can see where this is going, right?
Even though I know I create my own reality, I often forget I have the choice of where to focus my thoughts, what to let into my awareness and how to use (and protect) my energy. Yes, I know this is exactly what I talk to my clients about every day . . . but I’m human and (even though it’s embarrassing to admit) I can get caught up in the allure of the negativity and the pull of judgment and righteous indignation.
Since I am not the only one in this space right now, I thought I would share some tools that are helpful to climb out of the funk, shake off the constrictors and start moving in the flow again:
1. Go on a news diet. The truth is that far more good happens in the world than bad every second of every day. When we are only hearing about the bad, we can begin to believe that the bad is “winning” and it feeds our sense of helplessness to make a change.
2. Meditate regularly. If you are like me, your head is a very busy place. Meditation allows you to quiet your thoughts (shut up) and listen your internal wisdom and the whispers of the Divine.
3. Clean out the muck. Sit with all the thoughts and feelings that are coming up and sort through them to decide who they belong to, where they came from and if they still serve you. This is an uncomfortable but very necessary process. From the time we are in utero, we are exposed to the thoughts and feelings of others. The thoughts and feelings of our primary caregivers shape our own beliefs about life. We hold on to those thoughts even after we have our own life experiences that contradict those beliefs because we often don’t realize they are still hanging around under the surface creating tension.
If the thoughts and feelings still serve you and the greater good, hold on to them. If not, let them go. Letting them go it not a “one and done” proposition. Some of the thoughts and feelings are sticky and have created well worn paths in your neural networks. Every time they come up, decide to let them go and focus on something else.
4. Be grateful. Put on a pair of “perspectacles” and look at your life through the lens of gratitude. We all have so many blessings in our life but when we are caught up in fear and lack, we completely miss all the good that is right there in front of us. Here is a great article written by Glennon Doyle Melton about finding her “perspectacles” http://momastery.com/blog/2014/08/11/give-liberty-give-debt/.
5. Just say “no”. Life is not about suffering and trudging through the long lists of “shoulds”. Life is meant to be enjoyed and embraced. The death of comedian Robin Williams really drove that home to me. Be very picky about how and with whom you spend your time and energy. Here is a hard truth … not everyone wants you to be happy. Choose to do things that are fun and spend time with people who make you laugh, share their wisdom and cheer for your successes.
6. Be a part of the solution. Look for the positive and then spread it. If you are putting negativity out in the world by reposting nasty, negative, down-putting information about others, you are contributing to the problem, not the solution. It is easy to try to make ourselves feel better by pointing out others’ flaws or weaknesses. Build people up and you will build yourself up.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this article. Please share them below.