Can you say EXTREME? How about a pandemic and an anti-racism movement and a big election all at the same time?
The prolonged duration of universally stressful events is creating extreme feelings and reactions. Our brains have been in a prolonged state of fight-or-flight for months now since COVID-19 arrived.
It’s not getting any easier so here are more strategies for maintaining your center and inner peace in the middle of a messy, conflicted world.
Limit Media and Social Media
I’ve been strongly recommending this strategy since the start of the pandemic. I can just about guarantee this one strategy will reduce anxiety and increase inner peace!
Limit news of all kinds, and social media of all kinds. Set boundaries with yourself and be ruthless in sticking to them.
Focus on your Inner Experience
This is the only thing in your control! Focus on managing your own actions and reactions, as well as your own thoughts and emotions, to create a greater sense of inner peace.
In the outer world, challenging things happen. Challenging people show up, getting riled up, getting angry, getting upset, perhaps judging you.
You are a human being so you will naturally have a response to what you observe or experience in the outer world. But you can’t control the outer world. Your job is to manage your inner reactions to whatever craziness is happening in the outer world.
Make a list of what’s in your control and what is out of your control. Then focus all your energy and intention and time on what’s in your control
Self-compassion is a thing.
Over 2500 research studies overwhelming show that self-compassion in difficult times like this helps:
- Decrease anxiety
- Decrease stress
- Increase coping
- Increase resilience
- Increase well-being
- Increase happiness
- Increase hope
- Increase optimism
- Increase forgiveness
All of those things will help you find inner peace. Self-compassion is a way to show yourself kindness, care and concern in the midst of the difficulties you face in these extreme times.
Click HERE to learn how to practice self-compassion.
Click HERE to listen to guided self-compassion meditations by Kristin Neff, international leader in this field.
Question Your Need to Understand “The Other Side”
When facing extremely different viewpoints, we often struggle to see where others “are coming from.” This struggle takes us further from inner peace.
Sometimes it is useful to seek to understand another’s viewpoint. Other times it is more useful to let go of that need.
The further apart (more divided) two opinions are, the less likely that true understanding is possible. Instead, the conversation easily devolves into convincing and defending…this, again, takes us further from inner peace.
Question whether you really need to understand, or whether it’s feasible that you ever could. If it’s not feasible, then it could be more peaceful to just accept that you won’t and stop trying.
Remind Yourself You are Doing Your Best
There is no easy fix for dealing with the stress that comes with the extreme times we find ourselves in. We all have good days (or moments) and not so good ones.
Know that you are doing your best in very difficult time.
Have compassion with yourself.
Have patience with yourself.
Acknowledge yourself for all the positive ways you are coping with things.