These are testing times
From panic buying at the shops, to job insecurity and school closures. No one knows what the future holds and the sense of everything changing rapidly can be overwhelming. We are getting a constant news stream of what is going wrong, and what may go wrong. It’s very easy and entirely understandable to emotionally ‘invest’ in the news. However what is said and what we hear can be two very different things. It’s very similar to our reaction to is happening and what may happen. Let’s look at panic buying as an example. At no time has the government said they plan to close supermarkets, indeed they have gone to great lengths to insist there is enough food for everybody, and yet we still see daily pictures of ransacked shelves. Are people not listening? What prompts somebody to buy more than they need despite zero threat to their food supply? The answer lies in the pictures we create. When we watch the news, it feeds our anxiety and we start to create a future in our mind where we are left bereft of food. The actions that follow are carried out because we think that will keep us safe from our own irrational fears. It will keep us safe from a future that only exists in our head. Of course the reality is it creates a social tension, a sense of ‘every man for himself.’ Our energy is then spent on anger and derision at the actions of others. Haven’t we enough on our proverbial plate without creating internal angst at the actions of others? It’s vital we deal with what IS happening and not what MAY happen.
So how do we decide what is worth our focus? How can we become calmer and more resourceful in times of stress? What would society look like if we didn’t escalate beyond the facts?
Firstly we need to accept our place in the order of things. Unless we work in the higher echelons of government we’re very unlikely to be able to shape policy and change the way others behave. So why invest our energy? Secondly we must acknowledge what can we directly effect, or in other words, what is in our control? Our minds don’t tend to do well when they’re carrying a lot of information, especially if that information is corrosive to our well being. Thirdly, ask yourself who is responsible for your thoughts and actions? As individuals we are very capable of making these decisions, and the more we concentrate on what is truly important the more resourceful we become. Lastly, and most importantly we need to be able to switch off, guilt free. This doesn’t mean pretending everything is OK, far from it. It means giving your head a rest so it’s as healthy and calm as possible for the coming months.
Look after today, and tomorrow will get better in time.
If this sounds familiar then please get in touch.