HOW TO STAY SANE IN A CHANGING WORLD
Now that it is December, I can officially get excited about Christmas, (although I might of accidentally put my tree up in November…!!) and am looking forward to all things sparkly this month, starting with a trip to Copenhagen’s Christmas market tomorrow!
But for today, something less sparkly, but also very current, change.
We’ve had a lot of global change this year: US elections, Brexit, refugees coming by the boatload, the war in Syria, just a name a few, causing me to reflect on times of change and the psychological effect it has on us. I’m sure we all have; we only need to turn on the news, or look at social media to see the ripples of fear.
But what if we didn’t need to be frightened of change, what if these times are simply a louder, more urgent invitation to step into our greatness. A chance to re-evaluate and heal what isn’t working, both in ourselves and the world?
Like anything difficult in life, you can choose to drown in it, and use as it another excuse to stay quiet, small and scared or you can choose to rise out of the ashes, like a phoenix ,stronger and more brilliant than ever before.
CHANGE IS PART OF LIFE
Whilst it’s tempting to cling on to life staying the same, change is an inevitable part of life and the more we try to resist it, the more difficult our lives become.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF CHANGE
Planned, expected change: having a baby, changing your career, moving to a different city, getting married, retiring, your body aging/changing, shifting of priorities at different ages etc…
Unexpected, sudden or out of control change : accidents, sudden death or death at a young age, illness, redundancy, big changes in the economic/political/government systems, traumatic events like war, murder, terrorist attacks, a sudden relationship breakdown, world disasters etc…
The first kind comes with it’s own challenges, but is generally manageable because we have an element of choice and control and normal developmental life stages. Whereas, the second type of change, sends us into a much more powerful primal fear; our safety. These types of changes tend to shake us to our core, and can leave us feeling devastated, traumatised, scared, angry, hopeless and loose our faith and confidence in ourselves, humanity, and the systems that support our societies.
WHY IS CHANGE SO TERRIFYING?
Our primal need is for survival and therefore we are wired to look for threats to our safety. So when we pick up that there might be danger or that we aren’t safe, the primal part of the brain gets triggered and alarm bells go off signalling- run- hide- fight! At this point, we loose our thinking, because it’s not important to analyse the situation; we need all our energy for survival. Whilst this is a normal reaction, it isn’t always helpful unless there is an immediate threat to our safety, and keeps us stuck in a cycle of fear and reaction.
SO WHAT DO WE DO INSTEAD?
We break the cycle and we become part of the solution rather than contributing to the problem.
Here are 6 steps to help you stay sane in a changing world:
- ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR FEELINGS
Even when something doesn’t affect us directly, we can still have a huge emotional response to change and world events, particularly if we see them as negative. Acknowledge those feelings and offer yourself whatever support or assistance you need to process your feelings and get a to calm place.
2. YOU DO KNOW THIS : get your thinking back
If we saw a frightened child in the street, on their own, regardless of gender, religion and skin colour, most people would NATURALLY respond to them. We’d offer reassurance, get information and problem solve. We all have this response available to us, at all times, and requires us to shift into our thinking, rather than our emotional response. Not only will this be very reassuring to you, it acts as reassurance to others. We all have a responsibility to each other to not add to the hate, violence, and fear right now and to model something else. If this feels too difficult, find other people who can be your anchors.
3.YOUR SKILLS, TOOLS, AND RESOURCES AND TOOLS ARE MADE FOR TIMES LIKE THESE
Our tools, resilience, courage, wisdom, strength, and learning, are wonderfully useful all of the time, when we really need to pull on them are in times of change.
What strengths, skills, experience, resources to you have that will keep you balanced?
5. feel good activities for December
Shift your focus this December to positivity, with these feel good activities.
- Do something that makes you laugh
- Tell 3 people that impact your life in some way, that you appreciate them
- Find 3 positive news stories and share them on social media
- Do 1 kind act every day for a week for others
- Write something you are grateful for, every day of December
4. WE ARE CYCLICAL NOT LINEAL BEINGS, ITS HOW WE EVOLVE
We work cyclically, so we keep re-visiting an issue until it’s healed. Whilst it may feel like we are going backwards, each time we go back to an issue, we are actually being called to resolve it at a deeper level, which causes us to expand out further. So when things keep turning up in history, it’s a calling to be addressed. When our shadow selves (the things we believe are unacceptable and prefer to keep hidden) rise to the surface, whilst it can feel unpleasant, that honesty is good. It’s when things are denied and hidden they are at their most dangerous, toxic and devastating. When we know what is that we are dealing with, both globally and personally, we can work through it.
What is in your shadow self and how does that leak into the world?
5.REMEMBERING WHO YOU ARE: powerful
Never estimate how powerful one person can be. Everything you do is political. What you say, how you treat people, what you buy, where you buy it from. The more uncomfortable and difficult things are, the more inclined we are for change, because it’s breaks through day-to-day thinking and re-shuffling our priorities. Empowerment and action brings about change, and right now there are so many causes, people and animals, that need support, a solution, a voice.
Am I standing up for what I believe in? Is the world how I want it to be, if not, how can I be part of that change?
- WHO DO I WANT TO BE IN THIS SITUATION
Elizabeth Gilbert recently asked this question and I loved it. In any given situation, however triggering, or difficult, we can ask ourselves, “who do I want to be in this situation?” When we are frightened this is a very powerful question, bringing back power and choice, and inviting you to be your best self. In times of difficultly, I want to be: brave, light, an enabler, an empower, a support, guidance. Who do you want to be?
BE PART OF THE REVOLUTION
If you look closely, under all the negativity, fear-mongering and drama there is a quieter revolution. There are so many people stepping up, supporting people, fighting for your rights, offering love, kindness and coming up with creative solutions. Change is a time to re-evaluate and re-think, and also a chance to do something different. It is a time for hope. How might you use change is a positive way in your own life right now?