We live in an unusual time right now. Most of us are feeling overwhelmed, uncertain and scared about what’s going to happen tomorrow. We worry about our loved ones, our job security and how we are going to get through it all. The current outbreak is giving many people sleepless nights and so much anxiety, which can lead to stress.
What doesn’t help either, is that some of us can get so easily caught up in the constant cycle of news and information. I’m not saying to stop watching the news. Of course, it’s important to be informed. But, it is equally important to filter the information we receive, and choose wisely what information we are going to let in. What we focus on always expands, and when we mostly focus on the negative, we can begin to see the evidence of it around us. On the contrary, when we focus on the positive and the lessons we are learning from these experiences, we feel more empowered.
I’m not saying to ignore what is going on in the world. And I’m also not saying to live in a denial. But, what I’m suggesting is to shift our perspective. For example: Instead of focusing on what we can’t do and how hard it is, let’s re-focus our attention to what we can do. This way, we can reduce stress and feel more powerful.
Let me give you a few more suggestions, which I believe can help you stay motivated, more optimistic and inspired, not only during this global crisis, but every time you feel uneasy or stressed out. In fact, you can include these tools into your daily life.
Aung San See Kyi told us: ‘When you are feeling helpless, help someone.’ I absolutely love her quote and this philosophy. It has served me well so many times. When I find myself in a dark place, I remind myself of these powerful words. Every time I help someone, it does not only lift them up, but it also brings light into my own life. As a benefit, I’m also able to see the situation I was worried about from a different perspective. Who can you serve today?’
Another invaluable way to reduce stress and feel more empowered is to express gratitude. I learned this tool early in my coaching training, and it’s served me amazingly well ever since. Just the other day, I had the opportunity to put it into practice. I was feeling down about something I had no control over. Instead of stressing out about it, I chose to take a better approach. I began to list things that I am currently grateful for.
I looked out of the window and I could see the beautiful sunshine and hear the birds singing. I was grateful for it and it lifted me up. Then, I had a lovely phone conversation with my parents. I was extremely grateful for it, and also for the technology that allows us to communicate with people even when they are on the other side of the world. It lifted me up as well. Later that day, I received an email from my ballet teacher. She said that from next week we are going to be having our ballet classes live-streaming online. My energy shifted and I felt excited. The great thing about gratitude is, that the more you are grateful for something, the more things to be grateful for will start showing up. What are you grateful for today?
Share how you feel
The final suggestion I’m going to leave you with is to share your feelings with others. It’s a lovely thing to help someone, but at the same time, it’s important to stop pretending that you are okay when you are not. All of us get scared, anxious and worried sometimes, and denying these feelings is doing us a lot of disservice. I learned this the hard way. I used to pretend I was the tough girl, with advice for everyone, even when I was in fear and struggling. Not anymore. As much as I love helping people and it fulfils me, I also get scared, uncertain and I go through challenges. Learning the lesson to express truthfully and unapologetically how I feel has been a liberating experience. I feel calmer and more at peace. People also appreciate my honesty. Don’t be afraid to express your true feelings.
So, I hope these suggestions have inspired you. I hope they brought some light into your life. And I hope they will continue to assist you and help you reduce stress, so you can feel more empowered. I know we are living in a scary time right now, but we are all in this together and we are going to get through this together. Let’s support each other as much as we can.