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When It Feels Like Everything is Out of Control — Cultivating Peace

Leigh Harris MS, LPC, NCC • Contact Leigh

relatecounseling.com • @relatecounselingatl

How do we cultivate peace in the midst of discord, uncertainty, fear and loss? Election stress, a pandemic, extreme weather, fires, a country deeply divided, being physically separated from loved ones, economic difficulties, a world and a life that is different from what we may have known and planned for?

Sounds like a recipe for stress, anxiety and despair. It’s important to acknowledge this is hard and to help ourselves and each other in this difficult place we’re in. Here are some ways we can do that.

Give yourself a break 

What we fixate on becomes manifested. It’s important that we’re informed, but if we’re constantly inundated with negative and divisive news, it wears us down and puts us in a dualistic mindset. Try to limit your television and internet news, social media, and political discussions to maybe an hour of your day. Then put it down and pick something else up.

Quiet your mind

When we’re anxious, our mind is what if’ing and catastrophizing, the opposite of peace. Meditation is a great way to quiet the mind and lower anxiety. Here’s one to try by Serena Poon:  https://soundcloud.com/mindbodygreen/meditation-for-pre-election-anxiety-by-serena-poon

Find your joy

Focus on what gives you joy and get into that. Use that extra time you have to invest in the things that give back to you. Love cooking? Make some soup for yourself and your loved ones. We could all use some TLC right now. Love nature? Plant some flowers, or feed the birds. Into animals? Spend some time with furry friends. Or learn something new. Music, dancing, painting, creating — all have connected, healed, and inspired people since the beginning of time.

Give back

When we give, we get. Maybe there’s a cause that’s dear to you. If not, what are you drawn to? Knitting prayer shawls for those dealing with health problems or loss. Helping your neighbors. Or animal shelters, food banks, beautifying a local park.

When it feels like everything is out of our control, we can come back to ourselves and identify the locus of control within ourselves. As author and teacher Richard Rohr states “Stand as a sentry at the door of your senses for these coming months, so “the blood-dimmed tide” cannot make its way into your soul.”

Wishing you peace,

Leigh

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