What do you do when the world around you feels like a bit too much?
When I look at my phone each day, whether it be Apple news, Instagram or Facebook, I am inundated with photos and stories about really sad news…Afghanistan, children getting covid-19, the Delta variant, tornadoes, earthquake in Haiti … I could go on and on. Sometimes, I just put my phone down and other times I search for the cute puppy pictures (that led me to actually getting a puppy one time, so I kinda steer clear of the rescue dog pages) or go to The Kindness Pandemic or the National Park Service Fan Page to feel good and escape for a moment. Sometimes the world around me feels like a bit too much.
I meet with clients every day who are struggling in some way or another and the current state of affairs is not helping folks heal, but rather, creating more stress. So what do we do when the world around us feels like a bit too much?
I’m going to offer up 5 ideas – none of them are profound or rocket science. They are simple and easy to execute. They make a difference.
Yes, when the world around you feels like a bit too much, just breathe. We often forget to breathe when we get stressed or worried. We literally hold our breath. When “the diaphragm is restricted the breath is shallow and confined to the chest. This overstimulates the sympathetic nervous system and results in the physiological symptoms of stress and feelings of anxiety. It also tends to keep us locked into our worries and anxious thoughts.” (yoga international)
Breathing in and out, following a natural rhythm, can help bring much needed oxygen to your whole being, bring your frontal lobes – your organized, problem-solving, thinking brain – back online, and calm the entire nervous system. It is truly amazing how much benefit you can get from simply remembering to breathe.
Yes, when the world around you feels like a bit too much, be quiet, be still. I often sit on my deck at home and just quietly look around at all the birds splashing in their birdbath, smile as the hummingbirds drink nectar from the red pansies, and enjoy the breeze as the wind picks up in the afternoon. I practice mindfulness, the art of bringing my attention to the present moment, over and over again. This simple practice may be hard to do with a family clamoring all around you, but just try to find a quiet place to be for a moment. Find your silent place and breathe. Rest & Restore.
P.S. This is one of my favorite videos of a mom trying to just get a break for a moment!
Gratitude has the power to heal and bring you health and well-being. There is actually research that shows that gratitude helps you sleep better, improves psychological health, increases empathy and decreases aggression.Gratitude also helps us in our relationships – improves our romantic relationships, friendships, and social support. So when life gets you down, take a moment to look around at what is right and good in the world, in your community, in your life. This is a fun little gratitude chart you can get on Etsy – its made for kids but it sure looks like its good for anyone!
Be of Service
Oftentimes, the craziness in the world around us, leaves us feeling powerless, exhausted and drained. The antidote is to do things that help you feel empowered, awake, and alive. Focus on what you do have control over, and let go of that which you do not. Here are some wise words to follow:
Often when we feel powerless, exhausted and drained, the last thing we want to do is create. Instead we usually want to consume. Consume tv, social media, food, alcohol…you name it and the world will provide you with an endless amount of substances in which to indulge. However, consuming further drains us. Even when you are the most drained, if you can take some time to engage in a creative outlet – writing, playing an instrument, drawing, painting, crocheting, cooking – you will feel better. Being creative is something under your control, fuels you rather than drains you, is giving instead of taking, and can shift your energy from overwhelm to calm, scarcity to abundance. When the world around you feels a bit too much, create something beautiful!
When The World Around You Feels A Bit Too Much … remember to breathe, be quiet, be grateful, be of service and be creative …be you…you are enough ….you can get through this …you are not alone.