When the world seems out of control, here's how to find peace within yourself.
After the recent Colorado high school shootings, there's no doubt our world seems out of control. Mass killings, freak weather patterns, war, political upheavals and closer to home -- divorce rates, illness and financial devastation shake up even the most well balanced individual. Constant headlines filled with murder and job loss, whales beaching themselves, fires, floods and other natural disasters- naturally intensify our feelings of being out of control.
So, what can we do? The answer lies in what NOT to do.
As tempting as it can be to cruise social media sharing headlines, and to fill your coffee breaks with the gory details of did you hear what happened? -- doing so actually contributes to the overall negativity of our world.
Psychologists report that the brain takes 90 seconds to fully process a traumatic event that you learn about (not experience directly) from beginning to end.
This means it takes a mere 90 seconds to hear or read about something negative, then think it through and process it fully. Any consideration beyond that creates something called negative bias, which can actually ingrain trauma and creates a new stress response within your body.
So what to do? When disaster strikes, send the help that you're able to send or lend a hand if you can, but then turn off your television.
Those bright-eyed and bushy-tailed reporters love to spin every detail into a new angle of fear and sensationalism. Frankly, our nervous systems are already overloaded with life -- we don't need to add to adrenal stress by spoon feeding ourselves more horror as we watch an event over and over again- In fact, when we feed our brain receptor sites too much fear and drama, they'll naturally look for more stimulus. As we watch multiple channels of news reporting the same disaster from different angles, we become addicted to the gory details and the subsequent endorphin rush -- then we simultaneously create a vicious stress cycle as our natural peaceful response patterns fall by the way side.
Even more importantly, when we spin out in fear and sadness, we do nothing to effectively help our planet or the people we love.
Most of us have realized that attempting to control the world around us is futile -- all we can really control is our inner world.
As I opened the paper this morning, I saw the recent Colorado high school shooting story and felt a cold shimmer of fear run through my body. If things are as dire as they seem, do I really want to squander the peace I have in my own life in this moment worrying of things to come?
As I looked outside the sky was clear and blue -- in my small world, things were tranquil. I closed my eyes and prayed for the victims and for their families, I prayed for solace and peace to fall upon their shoulders and that others, like the murderous perpetrators, are healed before taking similar action. I wished for those in pain to find relief, and that those of us lucky enough to be safe and secure realized our many blessings.
So how do we control our inner world when the outside world appears to be nuts?
It may sound overly simplified, but after we do all that we can do to help a situation -- appreciating the life we have while walking in balance with love in our hearts -- is a healthy course of action. We can meditate, practice kindness and remember compassion while loving the ones we love with more intensity. When we practice visualizing peace and trust that what we wish for in the small microcosm of our own world effects the whole -- we make a difference.
As Gandhi once said, "You must be the change that you wish to see in the world."
Spreading the: did you hear what happened? -- OMG our world is falling apart reactions tainted with fear, despair or anger does nothing to repair the situation. Turning off your television, meditating or praying, loving your life and those around you, teaching future generations to love and respect not only the planet, but also the people around them, and most importantly, visualizing our world as healed and perfect -- does.
Once you do what you can do to help in times of trauma, turn off your television, and remember that gratitude and love are truly the most powerful forces in the world.
Originally posted Daily Transformations