“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
– Viktor E. Frankl
I know you’re scared.
You don’t know what’s going to happen next.
You don’t know how long this virus is going to last. None of us do.
This is a time of great uncertainty.
I know a thing or two about living a life of uncertainty.
As a child living in a violent home, I walked on egg shells not knowing when the next violent ‘attack’ was going to happen.
The day I ran away from home, I had $20 to my name and lugged a box of clothes on a GreyHound bus, not knowing what was going to happen next or where I would end up.
I could go on.
Life has taught me how to make friends with uncertainty and I want to give you some tips on how to do so in this incredibly uncertain and frightening time.
(Life in general is uncertain. We forget that in our day to day living).
What I am suggesting is a Practice. The more you practice what I am about to teach, the more it becomes a habit that you don’t have to think about.
As you develop the life skill of being able to be in a place of calm and peace in a time of great uncertainty, you will be able to handle any challenging or stressful situation that comes up in the future.
It’s absolutely possible.
And you will be able to model that behavior for your children and others. This is the silver lining of this moment.
I want to give you some tips so that you can learn to live from a place of peace (for the most part) when life is so frighteningly uncertain. As I practice these tools myself, some days are more intense than others, we are human, we are going to feel anxiety and stress at certain times, but the key is to master our thinking and to take advantage of the power of choice that we have at any given moment.
1. Surrender to This Situation:
ACCEPT the fact that you have NO control over this situation. You DO have control over how you respond.
How do you surrender? By letting go of trying to control or resist. Do it with grace and love. (Love for yourself and others).
When you find yourself trying to control or resist things, pause, accept that you do not have any control over this virus or what happens next and surrender (let go) again and again.
Keep in mind that you cannot think clearly when you are freaking out or are anxious.
This practice will lead you to clarity.
2. Objectify and Be Mindful of Your Thinking:
Anxiety is contagious, it affects the people around you. It also suppresses your immune system.
Anxiety is created by your thoughts.
Know that you are NOT your thoughts.
Your feelings are a result of your thoughts.
When you are stressed or anxious, check in with yourself and ask, “Are these thoughts negative?“if so, then think to yourself, “I’m going to change that.” Then choose thoughts that make you feel more empowered. It’s helpful to set a reminder every hour or so when you start to put this into practice.
Hypnosis is scientifically proven to help relieve anxiety, here is an article from Stanford University.
3. Be Present:
Most of us are in the habit of either living in the past or the future, but as
you know, living happens in the present moment.
When you are present you calm down your nervous system.
Here are some things to do to be present:
– take 10 minutes to sit in a quiet place and be still with yourself, focus on your breathing, or a candle, or some music
You will have thoughts but just let them float by like clouds
– spend time engaging with your loved ones, your presence is a gift, it’s always wonderful to be with children, the youngest ones are especially good at being present, they don’t know how to be any other way
– journal your heart out
Outside of mastering one’s mind, knowing how to be present is one of the most important skills you can have as a human being.
4. Create a Mantra For Yourself For This Time:
Anchoring yourself in a mantra will help give you some structure and
keep your mindset in a place of peace.
What is something you can tell yourself during the day?
“I am going to get through this”
“I am going to flourish in this time” “This too shall pass”
This will come to an end. That is the truth.
5. Ground Yourself In Your Body:
Get physical. Move your body. Shake your body. Get your heart rate up.
When you are grounded in your body, it gets you ‘out of your head’.
Do some cardio, yoga, stretch, whatever. YouTube is a great free resource.
Meditation helps to ground you in your body as well.
6. Limit Your Exposure To The News:
The media has airtime to fill. That is why they revisit stories over and over and over from different angles. It’s very important to be informed but make a choice about how much time you are going to access the news.
Use the extra time to do things that make you feel good.
Personally, I don’t have a TV. What I do to keep informed is get email alerts from the top newspapers. I keep myself educated about the important developments of the day.
Watching the news non-stop which is easy to do, will only cause you to stay on the hamster wheel of stress and anxiety and make everyone else around you feel the same way.
7. Eat Well and Practice Good Sleep Hygiene:
Now more than ever, we want to consume comfort food, but not all comfort food is healthy and we want to consume food that supports our immune system NOT suppress it. Be mindful of your sugar intake. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables, snack on nuts and seeds, and eat healthy balanced meals.
Be sure to get at least eight hours of sleep. It helps the body heal and restore.
Try to shut down all screen time at least an hour before bedtime. Read or journal before bed.
Connect with your loved ones before sleep.
End on a note of gratitude.
Listen to your new hypnosis for anxiety, it will put you in a great state for deep restorative rest.
Make sure your room is dark and cool.
It is absolutely possible to live with peace and calm in this time of great uncertainty!
Now is the time to make changes to your life that will last and serve you well long after this is over.
We are going to get through this together. Stronger. Wiser.