Unless you’ve been living under a proverbial rock, you may have noticed the world seems to have gone insane. A global pandemic, riots, wildfires… much of our society seems to be totally out of control.
And that’s life.
Much of the things we encounter in life are out of our control. They can be small things, like little annoyances, or big things like major tragedies. We also can’t control the weather, can’t control other people – what they say or do – or control how much traffic we face each morning or whether our boss will be in a good mood when we get to work or be a tyrant.
But what we CAN control are our reactions to all of these things.
Granted, that can sometimes seem easier said than done. Maintaining control over our emotions and reactions can seem beyond challenging in the moment when facing something overwhelming, scary, or just plain awful.
Here are some ways you can cope with the insanity so you can have better control over yourself.
Deep breathing is not some woo-woo concept; it is very much based in science. Our “fight or flight” response kicks in when we are faced with a stressful situation. Our heart rate increases, our blood pressure rises and we begin to take quicker and shallower breaths.
But when we intentionally take slower and deeper breaths, we send a signal to our nervous system that the danger is gone and we are safe. This allows us to regain our mental clarity so we can make the best decisions in the moment.
Don’t Judge Your Feelings
It makes sense that people are feeling anxious, angry, resentful, depressed and a host of other negative emotions right now. It’s a natural response to feeling the world you live in is slowly attacking you.
Give yourself the space and permission to feel your feelings, Do not judge what you are feeling. This will only delay your ability to process your initial grief. Feeling your feelings helps you to process them and eventually heal.
See the Full Picture
TV’s lovable Mr. Rogers shared a story of his mother telling him when he hears or sees scary news, “Look for the helpers.” What a smart woman she was!
There is no shortage of bad news in the world. Not now. Not 100 years ago and not 1000 years ago. But we have a choice: to fixate on the bad, or to see the good. The bad never outweighs the good, the bad just gets our attention. It’s the squeaky wheel that gets the oil. But there are other wheels to focus on.
When life is getting you down… when it seems dark and scary, look for the light in the world and the good in humanity – it is always there!
Unfortunately, we can’t control the entire world and all of its inhabitants. And maybe that’s a good thing. But when the world seems like a scary place, use these strategies to cope so you can control your perceptions of the events at hand.