Many people feel anxious these days, uncertain of what the future holds and feeling out of control. Some people feel like they are victims of circumstances and have little say over what happens to them. They feel powerless and this causes a feeling of restlessness, fear, and anxiety. What to do?
1. Breathe. Whenever we feel under stress, anxious, or fearful, the first thing most of us do is breathe shallowly, inconsistently, or actually hold our breath. If, instead, we take deep, conscious breaths, we’ll find ourselves able to come back to our center where we can feel at home to ourselves. This most likely won’t have any effect on what’s going on around us; but, what it will do is put us back in control of ourselves.
Truthfully, we don’t breathe, we are breathed. Don’t believe me? How do you keep breathing all night when you’re asleep? How does your heart keep beating when you’re asleep or thinking of other things? Something much greater than ourselves is handling that for us. When we put ourselves into a conscious relationship with our breathing, we put ourselves into a conscious relationship with the greater something that’s in control of everything. How can we feel anxious then?
2. Remember: we’re not in control of the world. What a load we can drop from our shoulders when we realize this on a deep level. People are going to do what they are going to do. We can yell, cajole, beg, and order all we want to; usually it has no effect. Why waste your precious energy trying to change people and events? Unless we have some sort of direct responsibility such as being a parent, it is much better to simply let people be who they are. I’m not saying there aren’t times and places to confront people about their behavior; but, when it is done from a place of integrity rather than desperation, it has a much greater effect. Learn to be in control of yourself and that will have an impact on everyone you meet or deal with in the everyday world.
3. Have spiritual practices you engage in regularly and to which you can turn when life gives you a rough road to travel. Meditate, do yoga, pray, chant, give yourself Reiki, light a candle or some incense, listen to some calming music; have planned activities you can turn to when anxiety strikes. Don’t wait until the storm arrives, have the umbrella ready.
Although it is true we live in interesting times that are causing a lot of anxiety and unrest, we do not have to fall victim to outer circumstances. I know you can add to this little list; make your own plan and use it when necessary. The more of us who can stay centered right now and look at everything in the world as God’s divine play, the easier it will be for us to stay calm and be there to help others who turn to us for support.