We are living in crazy times and facing unique challenges that no other generation has had to live through. Times are tough, no doubt about it. Many of us are experiencing physical illness, mental illness, financial stress, and emotional turmoil. This is completely normal, but we need to begin to be mindful about how we are coping with our feelings. Understanding that you create your reality. Mindfulness can help you construct the reality you want.
Coping With Lock Down – Being Mindful
Many places are experiencing lock down. This means we are being limited to where we can go and what businesses are allowed to stay open. We are all being impacted in some way and when you keep hearing that we are in this together…it is very true.
If we are all in this together (which we are), I am hoping that you can take a step back and take a good look at yourself and how you are choosing to handle this difficult time.
Let’s start by determining how you are feeling:
- Am I angry?
- Am I feeling stressed?
- Am I depressed?
- Am I anxious?
Did you answer yes, yes, yes, and yes? You are not alone, these feelings are expected. But, how are you handling your feelings? Let’s find out…are you:
- Lashing out at others – families, friends, strangers, etc.
- Using substances – drugs and alcohol
- Staying in bed or sleeping more
- Not sleeping
- Eating more or less
- Making rash decisions
- Engaging in risky behavior – example having unprotected sex with multiple partners
- Pushing friends and family away
- Finding yourself arguing with others regularly
- Feeling defensive
These are just a few of the common coping mechanisms to handle the above feelings. Plain and simple, they are not healthy. Meaning, they will not help you work through your emotions. The above coping tactics are going to help you throw yourself a pity party and spiral into a very dark place. They will encourage you to be angry, to be depressed and to feel more anxious and stressed out.
Mindfulness to Cope
We may not be able to choose how we are feeling, but we can choose how we cope with it and the best answer is mindfulness. This involves acknowledging your feelings, understanding that they are valid, and then taking a deep look into how you can best manage them to achieve a positive result. Mindfulness requires constant practice – there will never be a state of mindful perfection reached, you will always be a work in progress.
How to be Mindful – Example
I work as a fitness coach. Fitness has changed my life. It has helped me manage my severe depression, sleep better, make more nutritious food choices, push myself beyond what I ever thought I was capable of and so much more. To say that gyms and fitness studios are important to me would be an understatement. They are my life! I work there, I play there, and I socialize there.
In light of Covid-19 our governor has closed gyms for at least 4 weeks. As a result I feel lost. There are a wide variety of feelings going through my mind, but I ultimately have the power to be mindful and choose how I react.
Choosing to be Angry, depressed, anxious, and stressed
Yes, I am angry that something I love and rely upon is being impacted. I am depressed that my place that I love so dearly is being taken away. Anxious about the impact it will have on my finances. Stressed by the thought of my routine and schedule being completely turned upside down. Ultimately I feel like I am in a whirlwind of emotions.
The thing is though, I have the choice on how I manage these feelings. I can choose to call our governor names and damn him for doing this. Choose to be upset that Covid numbers are spiking because people will not comply with the rules. I can dwell on the feelings of not having control. I can choose to let these emotions take over or be mindful.
Choosing to Acknowledge Emotions and Question
I can acknowledge my feelings and self reflect to fully understand why I am feeling the way I am. Once I understand how I am feeling I can begin to be mindful and make different choices.
Mindfulness involves reflection. It involves asking yourself what the outcome will be of the decisions you make. Mindfulness means that you are not reacting to situations, instead you are thoughtfully responding. You are working through your emotions by asking yourself important questions:
- Why am I feeling this way?
- What will be the result of my actions?
- Am I thinking about the greater good?
- What can I do to cope with these feelings?
- Am I letting these feelings take over?
Mindfulness sounds easy enough, but it is work. It requires constant practice and internally challenging yourself. Remember that you can only control yourself and how you choose to respond. Being mindful is understanding that if you set out to have a terrible time you ultimately will and that is no one’s fault but your own.
Adversity is Part of Life
We will all be faced with adversity in our lives and it is up to you how you handle it. If you are not happy with your situation and are living in a negative world – that is your choice. Be mindful. Take back the control to be happy.