It’s hard to exist in the world today and not feel the effects of the the environmental and man-made tragedies happening around the world at large. Especially if you’re a highly sensitive person, what’s going on around you may influence you on a deeper level and even impact your daily life.
These 13 ways to be mindful in difficult times may help you better manage the stress and anxiety — whether you’re processing the events of the world or those of your own life.
1. There’s strength in vulnerability. When you show your vulnerabilities, whether by talking about how you feel or showing your emotions, you give others around you permission to do the same. What we share helps us heal, and only what is brought to the light can be healed.
2. You grow through what you go through. Even the most painful, upsetting, and agonizing experiences open up the door for growth. While you may not appreciate it now, difficult times bring valuable life wisdom that will impact your life and your choices moving forward.
3. Feel your feelings. We must feel our feelings on order to process them. If we don’t feel them — and instead push them away, shove them down, or try to quickly move past them — they will rear their ugly heads again in the future. The vicious cycle continues. When you feel your feelings at the time, you don’t hold on to them and let them affect your future.
4. Practice compassion. You can demonstrate compassion for someone without being in their shoes. Reaching out, lending a hand, sharing your sympathies, asking what you can do, or simply sitting with someone can show compassion and make a world of difference.
5. Protect your own energy. Be aware of what energy is yours and what belongs to someone else. If you notice you’re feeling so dragged down by the world’s or someone else’s suffering that you have stopped functioning in your own life, create the necessary boundaries to protect yourself. When you protect your energy, you take responsibility for managing your life. The world needs you functioning at your best.
6. Choose your response. Even though you can’t choose what happens to you or to anyone else, you can choose your response. You can let negative experiences drag you down and become cynical. You can choose to take a positive action. It’s up to you.
7. Remember, that the only way out is through. You can’t fast-forward your way through tough times. What doesn’t get processed comes back to bite you, in the form of anger or resentment, or staying stuck. You must go through the experiences that confront you or you’re at risk of repeating them.
8. Listen to your inner voice of wisdom. It’s hard to drown out the noise of the outside world when you’re surrounded by news everywhere you look. But you always have the opportunity to connect with your inner guide, which offers the greatest insight on what’s best for you. All it takes is a practice of getting quiet and listening to the wisdom that lies within.
9. Seek support from those who build you up. Brene Brown says that people need to earn the right to hear our stories, especially the deeply personal ones. Find the people who support you and lift you up. Steer clear of sharing with the people who drag you down. Choosing who hears your stories is an act of self-care.
10. Surrender the need for control. We feel out of control when unexpected and tragic things happen to us or those around us. Anxiety can take hold if we’re not careful. Realize that nothing is certain. All things come and go, and the more we can relax into that philosophy, the easier it will be. Instead of fighting for control, try surrender to the idea that this too will pass.
11. Practice radical acceptance of yourself. Now is not the time for self-criticism or self-judgment and especially not self-hatred. Ask yourself how you would treat a good friend going through this experience. Then treat yourself that way. Getting down on yourself doesn’t support you or anyone else. Accepting yourself as you are today allows you to grow.
12. Find a practice that supports you and helps you release. Feeling your feelings does much of the releasing on it’s own. But other practices allow you to release the anxious energy that comes up in times of crisis or uncertainty. Yoga, vigorous exercise, meditation, journaling, even dancing can all help you release some of the excess negative energy and feel more like yourself again.
13. Take an action, any action. Sometimes in a tragedy, we are so overwhelmed with the gravity of the issue that we don’t know what action to take. We get hung up on taking the right action. Instead, simply choose AN action and take it, however small. Help in the way that you know how.