Find Your Center in Challenging Times
We’re probably all expecting some tumult in November. Things right now may seem unprecedented and extreme, but the reality is…there’s always something going on that we can feel stressed or overwhelmed by. So how can you make it through the coming month(s) without adding to that stress, or even reduce it? You can Find Your Center.
What does that mean, to find your center? I’m referring here to the idea of accessing your inner strength and creating and maintaining a sense of balance and peace. We all have the innate ability to know what’s real, what matters, and what doesn’t.
In our crazy-busy world we tend to go from one thing to another and get caught up in the doing, rather than being. The media inundates us with negative, fear-based information, looking for a reaction…and often getting it. We can react to things without really considering the reality of the situation, becoming mired in the emotions about it, rather than the actual experience. At this point the ‘fight or flight’ part of our nervous system completely over-runs our ‘rest and digest’ mode and overwhelm sets in.
When we anticipate a future event, there are various statements we tell ourselves, and thus begin to believe, even though we can’t know what will actually happen. “This horrible thing is going to happen,“ “If this happens, it will be awful,” “I won’t be able to handle the worst case,” etc. If things occur in the worst case scenario, how are we to handle it if we’re already on hyper alert and overwhelm when we receive the news? And if it isn’t as bad as we’re expecting, it’s little consolation, because we’re already in that overwhelmed mode.
Our nervous systems don’t know the difference between the past, present or future…they just go by what we believe. Worrying about what’s coming, and telling ourselves how horrible it’s going to be, is just as stressful to us as it actually happening. So, if that challenging thing does come to pass, instead of dealing with it once it’s here, we feel the stress for days or weeks or months beforehand, even though we couldn’t do anything to change it.
Find Your Center
How do you prepare yourself, then? How do you end this pattern? You work to find your center, to maintain that balance and create resilience, so if something challenging happens, you can cope, and if it doesn’t, you’ve not spent any extra time in a state of worry and apprehension. If you give your body the opportunity to ‘rest and digest,’ to let go of heavy emotions and the urge to try to control what can’t be controlled, you’ll be better able to handle what comes.
Since we can’t control the past or future, focusing on the present is in our best interest. To be more centered and balanced, we need an ongoing healthy dose of self-care and the ability to let go of beliefs which don’t serve us…all of the doomsday, fear-based statements running rampant in our current society. If we breathe deeply, focus on the present moment and then shift our self-talk to neutral or positive statements, we shift our energy and break the old pattern.
There are things we absolutely can’t control. There always will be. What we CAN control is how we respond to those things. Even if they seem worse than feared, we’ll get through them as long as we don’t tell ourselves otherwise. We give our power away when we focus only on the negative and the things we don’t like. We can actually experience challenging situations AND be otherwise happy, still enjoy other things in life.
Adding to the Toolbox
If we take care of ourselves and keep our energetic tank full, we can be resilient and cope with what comes, no matter how dim. It can be challenging, however, to even think of self-care options while in the midst of overwhelm. Here are some ideas to help find your center:
- Breathe. Shift to slow, deep breaths and focus on the air coming in and going out. Imagine that air being a beautiful golden or white color (or any color which resonates with you), entering your heart center and radiating throughout your body.
- Meditate or sit mindfully. You don’t have to sit for an hour or even a half hour…focus on 5 minutes if that’s all you think you can manage at first. You don’t have to do this in any specific way, just focus on the breath, notice your thoughts when they arise, encourage them to drift away and refocus on the breath.
- Exercise. All manner of helpful hormones are released when you exercise and the activity helps to keep you in the present moment.
- Write. Journal something specific, write in a stream-of-consciousness format with no punctuation, write down all of the good things that happened today, create a story.
- Be grateful. Identify and write down as many things as you can think of to be grateful for. Add to the list each day if you can. Review it frequently, especially if you receive bad news.
- Realize impermanence. Remember that everything is temporary. “This too shall pass.”
- Keep it simple. Pay attention to the little things…what’s working, the beauty around you, a kind word someone said, a happy memory.
- See the positive. Watch videos that make you smile and laugh. Call someone who always uplifts you. Read about people doing good things. You can try The Good News Network and Some Good News.
- Give. Doing good things and giving, whether of time, finances or skills, releases endorphins and refocuses on the positive. Knowing you’ve made a difference automatically increases your energy and your outlook.
- Look for the Silver Lining. This may be the most challenging, but everything does have a bright side. You may not be able to recognize it at first, but if you consider it from a place of calm and centeredness, remembering that it’s temporary, then ask yourself what good can come of it, eventually you’ll be able to identify something.
As we move forward, I hope this will help you to feel more balanced and resilient. If you have any questions for me, please feel free to contact me: consultations are free.
Peace to you now and in the future.