There’s too much bad stuff in the world these days. Tragedies in France, shootings in the U.S, refugee crisis, terrorism, world on the brink of war. At the very least, these events heighten our anxiety levels. At worst, they cause us to live in a state of fear, crippling our ability to enjoy life.
We all understand that there is little we can personally do to prevent the bombings and senseless violence. And we can’t go lock our kids away or go and live in a cave.
So how do we cope? Importantly how do we help our kids cope?
The answer is to control what you can control.
Here are some tips to help you do this.
Master your mind: Take perspective of the stressful situation. Ask yourself how is what is happening across the world affecting me directly today. Does it stop me loving my loved ones, doing my job or doing the other things in life that give me pleasure? If the answer is no, focus your time and energy elsewhere. Understand that you are not being callous or hard hearted if you choose to not watch the news. Compartmentalise your thoughts – there is a time to think about ‘the’ world and a time to think about ‘your’ world, don’t let one ruin the other.
Work on yourself: Don’t get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of life that you forget to take care of your own needs. You have to understand that taking time for yourself is a necessity, not a luxury. People who truly care for you ‘will’ understand.
‘Schedule’ some time for rest and relaxation in your daily routine. Don’t allow other obligations to encroach. This is your time to take a break from all life stresses and recharge your batteries. Importantly you don’t need to find much time – a few minutes each day will make a difference.
Regularly do something you enjoy. Make time for leisure activities that make you happy, whether it be reading the paper at a cafe, playing the piano, being mindful or working on your bike. It’s not a crime to do something for yourself.
Keep your sense of humor. This includes the ability to laugh at yourself. The act of laughing helps your body fight stress in a number of ways.
I challenge you to work as hard on yourself as you do for other people.
Take your own advice: If your child was nervous about a first day at school you wouldn’t say “You should be, there are bullies at schools.” No, unless you’re a psycho parent, you would reassure the kid that they will be fine. We don’t realise that we are often great at helping others deal with stress, but terrible at taking our own advice. Try talking to yourself the way you would talk to others.
Say things like:
“This feeling will pass.”
“I will get through this.”
“I am safe right now.”
“I am feeling anxious now, but I have the power make myself calm.”
Get Moving: Most of us know that exercise is good for our physical health. For the past few decades, research has suggested that exercise is even more effective than medication. Maintaining a regular (healthy, non-obsessive) exercise routine has been proven to reduce stress, improve mood, enhance self esteem, and increase energy levels. During exercise, the body releases chemicals called endorphins, which cause euphoric feelings and reduction in physical pain.
Get some sleep: Nearly everyone feels a little crabby after a rough night’s sleep. Disrupted sleep is common in many emotional disorders and it’s difficult to know which started first—stress or poor sleep. A study from the University of Pennsylvania showed that losing just a few hours of sleep increases feelings of stress, anger, sadness, and exhaustion. Click here for some tips on getting to sleep .
It is true that many sources of stress or anxiety are unavoidable. You can’t prevent or change stressors, such as the death of a loved one, a serious illness, or a national recession. In such cases, the best way to cope with stress is to accept things as they are. Acceptance may be difficult, but in the long run, it’s easier than railing against a situation you can’t change.
Finally take time to be grateful for what you have all around you right now. Sometimes this is hard, but you can teach yourself to notice the good and block the bad. Check out The Thankful Plan on Facebook if you want to learn how to rewire your brain.
For more information on any of Nathan’s programs please contact us here Contact Us or call 0439858758.