To say we are living in uncertain times, would be putting it mildly. If you thought 2016 was a wild ride, the politically charged climate has only heated up in 2017 and doesn’t seem to be cooling down anytime soon. So much change in such a short period of time often creates uncertainty, which can then lead to feelings of fear or anxiety. But it doesn’t have to.
You may not be able to control what’s going on out “there,” but you alone determine how you react to it. This is not always easy and requires constant practice. Here are some reminders on how to keep calm amid the chaos in order to be the most productive, positive force that the world needs now.
1. Take a Breath
Above all else, and before you proceed with anything else, take a breath. Long, deep breaths help slow things down, bring relaxation, and nurture clarity. When you take a deep breath, your metabolism and blood pressure decrease, your heartbeat slows down, and your muscles relax. From this cool, calm place you are better equipped to process information and make more sound decisions.
2. Take a Media Break
While it is important to stay up to date and in the know with current events, we are inundated with media on a daily basis. Sometimes you need a break from all the “updates” to recharge. In fact, it is recommended. Just like parents do with young children, you can allow yourself a certain amount of media time each day — both news media and social media. Then once your time is up, shut it down and go enjoy a nice walk or some extra family time, and wait until tomorrow to turn it back on again.
3. Surround Yourself with Positive Energy
Both online and offline, be sure your network is a positive one. Nothing breeds anxiety and negativity in oneself like being around other anxious and negative people. It magnifies those feelings exponentially. Luckily, the same goes for being around uplifting and hopeful energies. When you surround yourself with positive energy, whether in people or music or activities, this will only grow the positive energy within you.
4. Remain Flexible, Open, and Present
The old adage “times they are a changing” couldn’t be more true. However, it is important to remember times are ALWAYS changing. No one can be sure what the next year, month, day or moment will bring. It does no good to remain attached to any one feeling or thing. You are better served by living in the present, remaining flexible and open to the inevitable changes to come.
5. Take Control — and Accept When You Can’t
Once you feel in control of your own feelings, you can then start to take on more tasks in your day. When you find yourself in a situation that is beyond your control, let it go. Find a way to accept it as best you can and move on to the things you can impact.
Be proactive. Donate to a cause close to your heart. If you don’t have it in your budget, donate your time. There are so many organizations that can use the help of good people. Get involved! If there are issues you want to see changed, use your political voice. And once you’ve done all you can do, let it go. Every bit makes a difference, and you must find peace in doing your part.
I hope these practices bring you a little bit closer to a calm within. It is only from there that we will all truly begin to thrive!
Originally published at medium.com