Feeling emotionally raw? You are not alone.
It seems that so many of us are feeling on edge, exhausted, tired of constantly needing to bend with the changing times, always searching for the silver linings.
Recently my 16-year-old daughter took her road test to get her driver’s permit and was told that the results are no longer given right away but instead are emailed after 6 pm to avoid sometimes violent confrontations between angry people failing the road test and the administrators giving the test. Airlines are now training their flight attendants in self-defense to protect themselves from unruly, stressed out travelers. Turn on the news and see the ugly, never-ending political divineness eating away at our country, followed by heartbreaking scenes unfolding in Afghanistan. It is fair to say that we can all feel the collective raw nerves of a nation as we move into yet another uncertain fall.
So, what can we do? Nothing is more urgent than turning inward to deal with the strong wave of emotions that we are all feeling. Much-needed self-care can go a long way in giving us the resources we need to keep on keeping on. Here are a few simple and powerful strategies to help us all find some peace, calm, and patience as we continue onward.
(1) Find Refuge In the Breath
When the world seems a bit out of control, we can find refuge inside by bringing our attention into our bodies and taking a few slow, deep breaths. Let all of your worries fall away, if even for a brief moment or two, by paying attention to what is happening right now. Focus on each inhale and each exhale. Be in the certainty of the moment and in your body. Feel the peace that is available to you inside as you let the world fall away for just a few minutes.
(2) Don’t Judge How Your Feel
Anything goes when it comes to feelings — sadness, frustration, anger, joy — it is all OK. Whatever you feel, just feel it. Don’t judge yourself for feeling whatever it is you feel. Don’t add on to your experience with anger, shame or guilt about how you feel. Don’t avoid those feelings as they will only fester and grow if unattended to. Remember that there is no “right” or “wrong” way to feel. Although there is sometimes discomfort in feeling them, it is healthy and important to allow yourself time to process and feel what needs to be felt. Feelings are there, meant to be felt. Let them move through you and meet them with tenderness.
(3) Offer Compassion
Whether you are heaving a really bad day or someone you encounter is, remember that everyone is doing the best that they can. Everyone has their own struggles, often struggles that we know nothing about. So instead of meeting others with judgment or anger, meet them with compassion and pateince.
(4) We’ll See
Can we accept the truth that we just don’t know what will be? Instead of ruminating about what may be, let’s be with what is right now. Let’s get comfortable with, “We’ll see.” Instead of spending time worrying, let’s focus on what we can be certain of and let’s be the only place we will ever be — here right now.
(5) Find Joy
Don’t wait. You can find so many moments of joy and magic right now. When we stay more present and focus our attention on today, on this moment, on friendship, on joy, on gratitude, we don’t have to know what will be to find happiness. We can find happiness right now. This is a choice we have. Why not choose happiness? Why not start right now?
“The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.”
– Henry Miller
by Cheryl Vigder Brause