Over the last few weeks, the Coronavirus went from something happening across the world, to something happening in our backyard.
The uncertainty of the pandemic creates fear, panic, and a sense of lost control. As many people have put it, this is uncharted territory.
It can be terrifying to know what to do next when our government and leaders arent giving us a plan.
But theres one thing we can control: our mindset.
Because fear is only as powerful as we make it. We can choose to live in fear and panic, or we can choose to find peace and connection.
Shifting our mindsets to find peace amid chaos is one way we can take back control of this terrifying situation, take care of ourselves, and take stock of the good in our lives.
Were all in this together.
Here are 6 ways you can find peace amid chaos:
1. Practice Gratitude
If you dont know where to start, start here. A daily gratitude practice has so many powerful benefits, and its one of the best ways to learn to shift from fear to peace.
When you focus on the things youre grateful for, you naturally pull yourself out of the fear cycle. You cant be afraid and happy at the same time! Gratitude is all about having appreciation for the good things in your life, or the lessons you learned along the way.
The word appreciation means to increase in value. So, when you concentrate on the good feelings you get from practicing gratitude, those positive feelings will increase. And so will the good things in your life, because youll start to notice them more often.
You can start by writing down five things youre grateful for each night before going to sleep, or as soon as you wake up in the morning. Or, go on a gratitude rampage and start listing (or taking mental note) of everything you can see, hear, or think of.
2. Start a Morning Routine
This is the one thing that has changed my life the most over the last few years. Keeping the first hour of your day as routine as possible allows you to save your brain energy for more important things throughout your day making decisions, being productive at work, being creative, and solving problems.
If you cant dedicate a whole hour, start with 10 minutes. Think about the things that will calm your mind or give you a sense of peace. I started with a simple practice of reading for 10 minutes then journaling for 10 minutes, and over time (and depending on my work schedule), I increased my Morning Ritual to about 45 minutes. I also read a short passage from the Tao te Ching, do a quick tarot reading, and pull oracle and affirmation cards.
Find what works for you. You can exercise, meditate, journal, read, pray, whatever fills you with joy and will start your day on a positive note. Try a 10-minute Morning Ritual every day for the next week, and start to notice your energy and emotions throughout the week. What increases your positive energy? What drains you? Then adjust as necessary.
Journaling is one of the best ways to connect to your intuition and emotions. Its effects are so powerful, I had to include this twice! I journal daily as part of my Morning Ritual. Sometimes, I pull my tarot cards and use those as inspiration for my journal prompt, and other days, especially when I’m feeling a strong emotional pull, I start with free writing and getting all my feelings out on the page.
Journaling is an important tool to protect and improve your mental health, and free writing can help you make sense of what youre feeling, especially when you arent sure how to describe it. It can lead to a sense of calm once youve worked through your feelings, because it often allows us to address what we need to and find solutions to the things were struggling with and gain perspective on how we react to different situations.
If you prefer to use a prompt, here are some of my favorites:
How am I feeling right now? How do I want to feel today?
How do I want to feel tomorrow, and what 3 things can I do today to ensure I feel that way?
What five things made me the happiest today? Why?
What ten things do I love most about myself? Why?
My favorite way to spend the day is:
4. Call a Friend
Social distancing can be one of the most difficult things to do in an uncertain time. Were social animals, and we crave human connection. When thats the thing were supposed to limit, we can get a bit stir crazy.
To combat this, call a friend or family member and invite them to a virtual coffee/lunch/chat. You can even FaceTime them or use a video tool like Zoom or Google Hangouts to see them face to face. It wont replace the physical connection you feel when you meet up with someone in person, but it will still give you a sense of normalcy and allow you to keep your social ties.
If youre worried about keeping your mental health in check, try an app that allows you to speak with a therapist or mental health coach virtually. If you have health insurance, this type of service may be covered or available in your plan, so check there first.
5. Do Something Kind for Yourself
During stressful and uncertain times, its important to be gentle with yourself. Youre doing the best you can, and you will get through it. Doing something kind for yourself will break the fear cycle, boost your joy, and improve your self-esteem.
Here are a few ideas:
Stop reading or watching the news if it triggers you
Take a break from social media
Try a restorative yoga class (online!)
Take a hot shower or bath
Read a book youve been meaning to read
Take a walk
Cook (or bake) your favorite dish
Find something that feels good to you and lifts your spirits.
Meditation involves sitting (or lying down) quietly, allowing your thoughts to come and go naturally. Its not about trying to turn off your thoughts or feelings; its learning to observe them without judgment. And eventually, you may start to better understand them as well.
Meditation helps train your awareness and build a healthy sense of perspective. Learning to meditate is like any other skill; it takes time and patience to get comfortable with it and see results. Its one of those things where the journey is more important than the destination. Sometimes, your focus will wander to one of the thoughts floating through your mind, and thats okay. Listening to a guided meditation on apps like Calm or Headspace can help you bring your focus back to a single point, like your breath.
If youve been having trouble meditating, or you know its just not for you (and thats okay too!), sitting in silence is another great option. Instead of focusing on your breath, you could spend time paying attention to a single thought thats bothering you. You could pray or ask the Universe for guidance. You could just sit and stare off into space. Find something that works for you to quiet the stressful thoughts and allow yourself time and space for peace.
During uncertain times, its important to take stock of the things we can control. Our mindset is our most important asset, and taking steps to find peace amid chaos is critical for our mental health. Remember: fear is only as powerful as we make it. We can choose to live in fear and panic, or we can choose to find peace and connection.
Take action now: Pick one or two of the above tools to focus on over the next week. Add it to your daily routine, and pay attention to how each of these strategies can shift your mindset from fear to peace.
Like anything, it takes time, so choose to practice these strategies whenever you feel panic setting in.
If you feel like youre in a crisis, there are resources to help you: Call 911 or the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administrations (SAMHSAs) Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746.
Take care of yourself.
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