Come into the present. Living in the future or the past can take away the good and safety of this moment. You are okay now
As a part of my series about the the things we can do to develop serenity and support each other during anxious times, I had the pleasure of interviewing David Kessler.
David Kessler is the world’s foremost expert on healing after loss. His experience with thousands of people on the edge of life and death has taught him the secrets to living a happy and fulfilled life, even afterlife’s tragedies. He is the author of six books, including the new bestselling book, Finding Meaning: The Sixth Stage of Grief. He coauthored two books with Elisabeth Kubler Ross, including On Grief and Grieving updated her 5 stages for grief. His first book, The Needs of The Dying received praise from Saint (Mother) Teresa.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path? Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
As a child witnessing a mass shooting while my mother was dying in a hospital, it helped me begin my journey. For most of my life, I have taught physicians, nurses, counselors, police, and first responders about the end of life, trauma, and grief. However, despite my vast knowledge on grief, my life was turned upside down by the sudden death of my twenty-one-year-old son. It inspired me to write my newest book, Finding Meaning: The Sixth Stage of Grief.
What advice would you suggest to your colleagues in your industry to thrive and avoid burnout?
Try to balance work and off time. It’s not easy to do and one you must keep rebalancing. Work to live, not live to work. No one’s last words were ever, “I’m so glad I finished that report for work early or stayed at work late.”
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie was one of the first self help books I read, it helped me to see our mind can work against us.
Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. Many people have become anxious just from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have only heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to develop serenity during such uncertain times? Can you please share a story or example for each.
1. Learn what is in your control and what is not. Focus on what you can do. Wear a mask, stay six feet away from others.
2. Come into the present. Living in the future or the past can take away the good and safety of this moment. You are okay now
3. Don’t keep watching the bad movie in our minds. Our mind can picture the worst scenario and scare us. It can be helpful to think of the best scenario. We can stay safe until a vaccine comes.
4. Connect with those who are more optimistic than you. We often gravitate to those who agree with our fears. Try to find those who are more helpful.
5. Go outside. Just being inside all the time can increase our anxiety. Going outside can be very helpful
From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to effectively offer support to those around us who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?
1. Validate what they are feeling
2. Don’t tell them not to be anxious
3. Don’t minimize what they are feeling
4. Let your state of mind be contagious
5. Stock up on compassion
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
Be kind, for everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
What is the best way our readers can follow you online?
Thank you David, for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!