Are you finding it hard to focus, plan, keep a positive mindset and adjusting to the new normal? These challenging times have been frustrating and life as we knew it will be different. While I know this will pass, there will be a time where we may have to adjust to some things being different and be able to manage our emotions, develop resiliency and learn what we can do to survive and perhaps even thrive.
Acknowledge and Accept
I know you may be bristling at accepting a stressful situation and want it to be different. This can bring up feelings of anger, frustration, sadness, and hopelessness. Resistance or positive thinking will get you nowhere. When you acknowledge and accept what is happening then you can shift things and make choices.
Acceptance doesn’t mean you will not do something about it. It means avoiding seeing things as good or bad and see them for what they are. I like using the Serenity Prayer as a way to ease the stress in situations: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and have the wisdom to know the difference. You can find strength and courage you didn’t know you had.
This is important to recognize because if we focus our energy on things outside of our control, we feel powerless and our suffering is exaggerated and prolonged. Face the reality and follow Maya Angelou’s advice: “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” This will give you power to control the things you can. Your attitude will make you feel either bitter or better. It is a choice. You get to choose your thoughts and actions.
Shift Your Perspective and Change What You Can
Once you shift your attitude and perspective and approach the situation with curiosity and ask yourself, “How can I make the best out of this situation, “ideas will come to you. Brainstorm possibilities without judgement and you may find new ways of doing things, shifting your energy towards things you can control will give you a sense of confidence and power.
Here are some ideas on how you can choose to shift your perspective:
- I’m stuck at home OR I get to be SAFE in my home and spend time with family
- I will get sick OR I will eat healthy, sleep, exercise, manage stress, self-isolate, wash my hands and practice social distancing to DECREASE the chances of getting sick.
- I will run out of items at home during self-isolation OR I will prepare for this and use what I have wisely knowing I can get everything I NEED when I need it.
- I am panicking because everything is shut down OR The most IMPORTANT and essential places and services are open.
- There is too much uncertainty and I am worried OR I can’t control the situation, I CAN control my thoughts and actions. I choose to focus on the positive, use calming techniques when I feel anxious and get involved in activities that make me happy and allow me to feel productive and in control.
Find the Good
Looking for benefits, doesn’t mean glossing over negatives; simply notice positives as well and focus on them.
Here are some tips for Finding the Good in ANY situation:
- Let go of your desire for control.
- Get curious and look at life and the situation like it’s an experiment.
- Look at what you can learn
- Laugh as much as you can
- Practice gratitude and keep a gratitude journal.
If you look hard enough, you can find some good in the situation. Ask yourself:
- Are there any opportunities during this time?
- What strengths am I gaining by simply working through this?
- What am I learning or what can I learn or do to make the best of this situation?
- How can I best use this time?
- What am I getting rid of that no longer serves me?
You may be surprised at how creative, innovative and intuitive you become.
Practice Compassion Towards Yourself and Others
No one is perfect and there will be times you will lash out at others and they will lash out at you. Once you acknowledge and accept the ebbs and flows of your emotions and treat yourself and others with compassion, you can be open and accepting to finding more constructive ways to process these emotions.
- Talk things through with a neutral person who is non judgmental.
- Forgive others and ask for forgiveness.
- Be kind and gentle and let it go.
- Acknowledge your emotions, feel them and shift into what you can be grateful for or take an action that is positive.
- Practice self care: eat nourishing food, exercise to relieve tension, and get plenty of rest.
- Meditate, pray, spend time in silence or practice self soothing techniques such as deep belly breathing, yoga, tai chi, stretching, a warm bath.