When the world seems out of control, here’s how to find peace within yourself.
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There’s no doubt our world seems out of control.
Mass killings, freak weather patterns, war, political upheavals and closer to home—divorce rates, illness and financial devastation shake up even the most well balanced individual. Constant headlines of murders and job loss, whales beaching themselves, global warming, fires, floods and other natural disasters intensify our feelings of being out of control.
So, what can we do? The answer lies in what NOT to do. As tempting as it can be to cruise social media sharing headlines and filling your coffee breaks with gory details of “did you hear what happened?”… actually doing so contributes to the overall negativity of your inner world.
Psychology Today reports that the brain takes 90 seconds to fully process a traumatic event that you hear about from beginning to end.
This means it takes a mere 90 seconds to hear about or read something negative, think it through and process it fully. Any consideration beyond that creates negative bias, which actually ingraining the trauma and creating a new stress response within your body.
So what to do? Send the help that you’re able to send and lend a hand when disaster strikes; but remember to turn off your television.
Those bright eyed and bushy tailed reporters love to spin every detail into a new angle of fear and sensationalism. Frankly, our nervous systems are already overloaded with life — we don’t need to add to adrenal stress by spoon feeding ourselves more horror as we watch an event over and over again– In fact, when we feed our brain receptor sites too much fear and drama, they’ll naturally look for more stimulus. As we watch multiple channels of news reporting the same disaster from different angles, we become addicted to the gory details and subsequent endorphin rush— simultaneously creating a vicious stress cycle as our natural peaceful response patterns fall by the way side. Even more importantly, when we spin out in fear and sadness, we do nothing to effectively help our planet or the people we love.
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Most of us have realized that attempting to control the world around us is futile– all we can really control is our inner world.
As I opened the paper this morning, I saw a recent high school shooting story and felt a cold shimmer of fear run through my body. If things are as dire as they seem, do I really want to squander the peace I have in my own life worrying of things to come?
As I looked outside the sky was clear and blue — in my small world, things were tranquil. I closed my eyes and prayed for the victims and for their families, I prayed for solace and peace to fall upon their shoulders and that others, like the murderous perpetrators, are healed before taking similar action. I wished for those in pain find relief, and that those of us lucky enough to be safe and secure realized our many blessings.
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So how do we control our inner world when the outside world appears to be nuts?
It may sound overly simplified, but after we do all that we can do to help—appreciating the life we have while walking in balance with love in our hearts—is a healthy course of action. We can also meditate, do yoga, eat healthy, practice kindness and remember compassion. Loving the ones we love with more intensity, looking forward to a brighter future, visualizing peace and knowing that what we wish for in the small microcosm of our own world—does make a difference.
As Gandhi once said, “You must be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
Spreading the: “did you hear what happened?”– “omg our world is falling apart” reactions tainted with fear, despair or anger does nothing to repair the situation. Turning off your television, meditating or praying, loving your life and those around you, teaching future generations to love and respect not only the planet, but also the people around them, and most importantly, visualizing our world as healed and perfect– does.
Once you do what you can do to help in times of trauma, turn off your television, and remember that gratitude and love are truly the most powerful forces in the world.