By Melinda Pajak
As seen in the Huffington Post on July 18, 2016...
The past few weeks have placed images of violence, terror, hatred, and horror in front of our faces. From all over the United States to all around the world, there has been a lot going on.
And whether we acknowledge it or not, these events negatively affect us emotionally, spiritually, and physically. All of this can take a toll. But there are some things you can do to help yourself move through this with grace and ease and get you back on track. This doesn’t mean that you should forget what happened, but taking time to heal will help you adopt a better frame of mind from which to move forward. If we can get back to a heart-centered, balanced view of what is going on, we can begin the process of making things better one day at a time.
1. Turn Off All Media.
We know that it is important to be aware of what is going on around us but we also know that we don’t need to be saturated in it. There is a lot of fear in our media—it is what keeps us watching. Just take a break. If these news stories are all over your social media, then take a break from that too. A little silence on this front will help you heal.
2. Practice Self-Care.
When there are violent things going on in our world and it stresses us out, we need to double our efforts to take care of ourselves. Take care of yourself as if you are a doting mother with a young child. Give yourself more time to sleep. Give yourself healthy, natural food that makes you feel good. Move your body to ease your stress even if it’s just a walk or stretching for five minutes. Ease up at work and don’t overload your schedule with extra activities. Be OK with doing less.
3. Reengage Beauty.
Go out in nature and watch the squirrels at the park or go for a walk on the beach. Sit amongst the trees and listen to the wind. Feel the grass. Watch the clouds. Buy some flowers. Go to an art museum. Listen to live music. Take time to refresh your spirit, remind yourself that there is good in the world, and see that there is beauty all around you.
4. Reconnect with Friends and Family.
Invite a friend to lunch. Call your parents. Give out more hugs. Say “I love you.” Give flowers to a co-worker. Bring bagels to the office. Go that extra mile to show appreciation for the people around you. Write love notes. Leave chocolate for your best friend. Make brownies for your neighbors. Practice deliberate acts of kindness and reconnect.
5. Find Laughter.
We all need to laugh and it’s been shown that laughter cures most everything. Rent an old funny movie. Find some silly cat and dog videos or even a laughing baby on YouTube. Visit a comedy club. Find your favorite comedian’s stand up routine and watch it with friends. Make it a point to find laughter as often as possible in your life. Play a silly board game or go sing Karaoke with friends. Whatever makes you laugh, go seek it out.
6. Explore Gratitude.
Noticing what we are grateful for in our everyday lives gives us a healthy perspective on the world and settles our hearts. This helps us become aware of how much good goes on in just our normal week. Most of us have food to eat, water to drink, a safe place to sleep, a job, nice stores, good roads, and people who love and care about us most of all. We don’t always look around and appreciate what we have. Start a gratitude journal listing what you are grateful for every day and keep it for a week, a month, or even a year. This will provide you with lots of good things to focus on instead of fear. Praising the good we enjoy on a daily basis helps us live happier lives.
7. Be Creative.
Write a poem or a song, buy a coloring book or paint a picture, create a scrapbook with your photos, or bake some cookies. These are all creative activities that amp up your life force. It doesn’t matter if the painting is awful or if you burn the cookies, it’s about how you feel while you are creating. A flow takes over the creative process and it is as if the fire inside you reignites with every brush stroke or strum of the guitar. You don’t have to share your final project with anyone. This is an exercise for you and it’s about how you feel when you create and the amped up feeling afterwards that you can ride with joy. Find some way to be creative and enjoy the process as its own reward.
Those are just some ideas for getting you back to your joyous happy self when the talking heads in the media predict doom and gloom. Here is a warning though. If you find that you cannot get back to your regular self, please see a professional whether it’s a counselor, a therapist, or a doctor. They can help. We want to see you heart-centered and balanced again as soon as possible.
Remember to choose love over fear every time. When love is present, fear cannot exist. You are in control of your thoughts, words, and actions so choose ones that bring you closer to love. With an aura of love around you, the everyday fear that permeates our society will just bounce right off. And as you foster love in your life, this love ripples out to all who know you as you move through this world. And that is how we make things better.