No doubt. Tough times. And for many, very, very tough times.
When living on very little, having nothing now is the difference between eating and not eating. I drove by a recycling center this week. It was cold and rainy. In a long line outside, were folks standing with plastic bags full of recycled cans and bottles. I doubt that any of us were in that line.
And, this article is not for them. It’s for us. We who will enjoy our Netflix, complain about Delmonico steak take-out needing to be re-heated…all as we peek at our 401K with amazement again. We will be okay.
“Really? It Doesn’t Feel That Way, Doc.”
No. It does not. Many of us are stressed and feeling the tough times, regardless of our circumstances. How does this happen?
For most of us, there is a reality to the unknown future that exists and where we will be in six months or a year. We add to that the fact that the current reality of what is happening outside our doors scares many of us. And finally, due to the restrictions in our environment, our normal choices are severely restricted.
And we humans… we love the sense of certainty. It brings us calm. And the lack of certainty brings us anxiety. So, in these remarkably uncertain times, we tend to be more anxious. Our minds become busy with fearful thoughts, and worries about the present as well as the future.
And we also love to have the sense of being in control of our lives. Again, we feel at ease when we believe we have more control over things. When we lose that sense of control, fears take over, and there is a deep sense of imbalance.
Even the virus itself seems to have a quality of evolution and movement that feeds on our sense that not only are we not in control, but maybe no one has control.
Yikes. Pretty spooky… huh?
What Can We Do No?
I am on the phone with clients daily, and many, if not most, are struggling with both their own mental state and the behavioral/emotional challenges of their children. The central themes, however, often remain the same. There are other variables, but for today, let’s focus on certainty and control. Both can bring immediate relief.
1. Develop Your Superpower First
We can all likely agree that our sense of calm versus anxiety changes from moment to moment. This is important because it points to the very nature of your superpower. It is all about focus. I repeat it’s all about focus. There is a profoundly simple rule of life that you can begin to leverage to your benefit, now more than ever. So, here it is:
“What You Focus Upon Expands, But Only 100% of The Time.”
Yes, it is the truth.
Yet, most people let the circumstances of life determine what they focus upon. Worse yet, they look at their phone, or the news, and let this choose what they hold in mind. Maybe it will be joining groups where fear and worry dominates the conversation.
But the bottom line is this: Our daily satisfaction in life WILL PREDICTABLY flow from the accumulated emotional residue of what we focus upon each day.
If we focus on the news, the fears, the worries, and the many sad moments, we will feel weak. We will feel anxious.
We will use our superpower (i.e., our focus) to put that focus on content that expands the sense of having no certainty or sense of control.
For those struggling severely with this shutdown, often, it is the absence of taking charge of what enters their minds that is amplifying their struggles.
So, instead, seize the moment. Choose what gets your focus and choose wisely.
2. Choose What Brings Certainty
The cool thing about having a superpower is that now you get to use it. So first, use that superpower to bring your attention to what creates certainty. The first step in this is to remove everything you can that promotes uncertainty.
Get rid of it. Don’t look or listen to it.
The second part of nurturing certainty is to focus on what is deeply certain. Make it a choice to see and expand, using your superpower, which creates certainty in your life.
- Do you love someone? Give that attention.
- Do you enjoy something? Give that attention.
- Do you like comedies? Watch those. ?
- Are you breathing? Watch the breath.
- Can you see beauty outside? Hold that in your awareness.
- Enjoy that cup of java each morning? Savor it.
- Are the kids giggling? Giggle with them.
- Spiritual in nature? Since the Infinite in all.
3. Choose What Brings a Sense of Control.
This one may seem tricky, but it’s not. We start again by eliminating what creates the sense that we have no control.
We then immediately focus on where we have control. Here is one simple win that can change things immediately.
Many of us, and our children, are accustomed to work or school providing structure. We didn’t have to control the schedule, as much as others did. Now, that may not be true. So, here’s a good place to increase having a sense of control by adding more structure. If you wake up without a map for your day, this leaves everything up to chance or uncertainty. Many people miss this.
To increase the sense of certainty, have a clear map for the next day. No, not a to-do list. But instead, create a detailed ‘map’ of how your day will unfold. All high performers do not leave their schedule to chance, based upon the whims of others. They take control, with many decisions made the day before.
Notice how everything changes. Those committed to working out, still have a schedule for working out. I am certain most can tell you today when they will be working out tomorrow. Such choices in living create a sense of certainty.
Simply do this as much as you can with a clear, well-defined game plan for the day, and say no to the distractions that inevitably come your way.
There’s more on this topic, so give it some thought. Who controls… what you drink? When do you drink? When you walk? What pops up on your phone? How do you respond to anger? How do you respond to love? What did you watch today? What did you read today?
Who is in control of all this? You are! So, focus on this fact. Cherish it. Feel it. And…enjoy using your superpowers to the max.