How to Keep Your S#!t Together When the World Looks Like a Dumpster Fire
The last two years have seemed like some kind of fever dream. Or maybe just a fever. The kind where you sweat and shake, where one minute you’re freezing cold and the next it feels like your skin is on fire, and you’re absolutely positive that, if you’re not already dead, the end is surely coming soon. Yeah, it’s been kind of like that. And every time there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel, it turns out the light is attached to the front of a train that’s barreling toward us. Covid’s finally in the rear view? Awesome, how about the largest ground war in Europe since World War II? Life’s finally getting back to normal? That’s cool, how about the highest inflation rates in nearly forty years? And let’s not even get started on the state of our politics.
Clearly, with everything going on in the world, and
right here in our own backyard, it can be very easy to become caught in states of fear,
anger, and overwhelm. The good news is, with a few simple techniques, we don’t have to live there.
Be careful not to lose yourself in what’s happening. With today’s 24-hour news cycle, it’s easy to turn on MSNBC or Fox News and get sucked into the vortex of never ending disaster. Obviously, it’s important to stay informed, but we need to avoid getting obsessed. A good practice is to choose a reliable news source and check in once in the morning and once again in the evening. Take a few minutes to catch up on the news of the day so that you are aware of what’s happening in the world, then get on with the more important activity of living your life.
Remember, we can’t control other people and/or manage their emotions. It’s not our responsibility and, maybe more importantly, it doesn’t work. In today’s politically charged environment, people can do things and say things that are contrary to what we expect, believe, or want. It can be hurtful, frustrating, and downright infuriating. But the truth is, people aren’t going to change just because we want them to. Put it this way, you can try to teach a pig to sing, but all you’re going to do is piss off the pig. The best thing we can do is simply listen from a state of acceptance. We can’t change the way a person thinks or behaves, but when we’re present and receptive, we align ourselves in such a way that we can respond thoughtfully rather than simply react.
Whether it’s the dumpster fire of current events or just someone who’s driving us up the wall, the most important thing we can do is to operate from a state of peace and calm. I know, easier said than done, but if it was easy, you probably wouldn’t be here, reading this right now. This is where your training comes into play. Recognize when you’ve slipped into a fear-based state, when your nervous system has shifted into fight-or-flight mode, and realize that, rather than doubling down, you have the tools you need to activate that love-based state. Utilize the 4-sided breath. Practice your Inner Training. Keep your Vision clear, focus on the outcome you’ve been working toward, and remember, this too shall pass. Terrible things have happened before and yet, we’re all still here.
A helpful trick for those times when it seems the sky is falling around us is something I call “after or next.” When facing a fearful situation, focus on the possibilities of what may come after, the potential for growth. You’ve been through trials and tribulations before, and I’d be willing to bet that, most of the time, you came out the other side stronger than you were before. Remember, the first steps to change are often uncomfortable. The prospect of change triggers our fear response because change means venturing into the unknown. When you feel that fear creeping in, take a moment to stop and name it. What is it I’m afraid of? When we name our fears, more often than not, we recognize that, 1) the worst case scenario is unlikely to actually happen, and, 2) if it does happen, we’ll be capable of managing it.
During periods of uncertainty, it’s natural to have feelings of fear or anxiety. The objective is not to shut those feelings out or try to hide from them, but rather to be aware of them, to name them, and to leverage them as a path to empowerment. If you aren't inside a system of training that supports you to do this, a great place to start is with my book. You can get a special offer on it HERE.