These are some of the most stressful times some of us have lived through our entire lives.
It’s probably a good thing to start off the journey out of the anxiety and/or depression we may be feeling by admitting this is happening. Which, of course, doesn’t feel great starting out. It’s ok, because we got to this terrible place by not admitting any of this was happening. We must shed the denial, or it will get worse.
So, we are living during stressful times. Everything is very amplified at the moment. Fires, storms, political hostility, social discord, the shaky economy and the global pandemic. Ok, so it appears to be happening all at once and therefore, we are overwhelmed.
People have different ways of coping with being overwhelmed. In American culture we usually cope by doing too much of something that is bad for us, or even something that is good for us until we do it too much. Comfort eating.
We need a new way to deal with becoming overwhelmed. It’s easy to sink into a rut or depression when so much is going on and you don’t feel safe leaving the house for all these reasons. We really are all going through this together. After admitting it’s happening, we can move straight to some comfort by knowing we are all feeling the collective stress. We have to find a way to make it positive.
We want to turn the collective stress into collective happiness. It’s a tall order. Each of us can have something each day that we are grateful for, and each of us can turn our mind to that throughout the day when things get tough. Even when in crisis, there are many aspects of our lives that we can be grateful for. We all have that in common.
When darkness comes in, there is usually a physical feeling like butterflies in the stomach, or your heart “drops” ~ when we feel this, we can simple say “this is the feeling of anxiety/stress/fear” and acknowledge it, take a deep breath, and let it be there without attaching a thought to it.
A lot of the collective fear we feel is just that, it isn’t because there is a specific person to blame or something happening to feel stressed about, it happens because there is always an energetic undercurrent that connects all of us to one another, that collective consciousness is pinging right now. We can’t afford to attach thoughts to it, they are likely to become negative mind loops that we keep repeating.
When we do start attaching thoughts to the feeling of stress and anxiety, we start to go dark because we believe it has something to do with us, or with our life. So when we find ourselves reeling through thoughts about “what if” or having conversations of debate or explanation with another person in our head, in other words – worrying – we have to stop ourselves and know we don’t want to waste precious energy and time on the same old worries. We have to acknowledge that most of what we worry about doesn’t happen and having conversations with other people in our mind is not doing us any good.
Very effective techniques for overcoming dark emotions and moving to lighter ones are breath work, yoga and meditation. The most beneficial is to do all three at once. But simple techniques for deep breathing are easy enough to look up, for a place to start. Finding 20 minutes a day for quiet “me time” will help. Of course, more than 20 minutes will help exponentially. But doing a little of this every day is way better than not doing it at all.
Creative hobbies are great too. If you’re not an artist type, there are still so many ways to be creative within whatever you like. Creative hobbies include reading, writing, watching video, listening to music or other enjoyable audio. Just about anything you enjoy can be worked into some point of the day. Albeit, some people work fulltime and come home to families, a few minutes of private time can be a cherished rarity.
It may feel like a bit of a fight to struggle against the tendency to slip back into worry. For some people, it’s familiar habit that seems to pass the time more easily than sitting in silence and doing deep breathing exercises. This is where, as a culture, we will benefit by having self discipline. There are many of us that want to stay on the light side of life. This is worth the fight.
You might have to fight with yourself to fight for yourself. We all have to identify what our best self really looks like, and it’s our personal responsibility to be that. We have to be the change we want to see. It’s worth it to self reflect because one thing we all tend to gravitate toward is what people think of us and what we think of ourselves. We do it anyway, we just have to peel off the stories we have already made up and see each angle for what it really is.
We have to be in control of our own actions and be in control of how we cope with these stressful times. We will all struggle with falling back into old patterns for a minute, but we can all keep the collective vibe more on the light side by not slipping into behaviors that are bad for us. Each time we make the right decision, that decision is easier to make the next time.
It will get frustrating if you’re a person that just wants everyone to be happy and wants everyone to stay positive through these difficult times. It’s easy to be frustrated if you feel like you are doing this alone. Believe it or not, there are a bunch of people out there right now intentionally spreading light, love, prayer, and peace.
Even a few can make a huge difference. If you’re spreading love but feel drained because maybe those around you seem impenetrable to the idea of peace, know that you are making a world of difference and keep spreading love. Don’t give up the fight.
We are all in this together, and there’s plenty of light to be had.