HOW TO BE HAPPY AND CALM IN THE MIDST OF CRISES

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HOW TO BE HAPPY AND CALM IN THE MIDST OF CRISES

The events that are unfolding throughout the world are unprecedented and it feels like our lives have been turned upside down within the space of a few weeks. Is this really happening? How long will this last? Will our lives ever return to normal again? I am sure you have probably found yourself asking some of these questions and many more as the world we once knew appears to have vanished before our eyes.

By now, we all know the new drill of washing hands, social distancing and staying at home yet it all feels so weird, like a nightmare in which masks, gloves and empty supermarket shelves become our new normal. To make matters worse, everyday we are mostly bombarded with negative news stories about the coronavirus that don’t serve us in anyway, consuming enough negative media on a daily basis is bound to make us feel more anxious and more helpless as this crises takes its grip on our collective consciousness. We need ways to bolster our mental wellbeing, we need to find ways to be happy and calm whilst all the craziness is taking place, here are my thoughts on how we can do that.

Everything begins in the mind

It has been said that everything in the world is created twice, in what way is everything in the world created twice? First, it is created in the mind as a thought and then it is created in the physical world, your laptop, phone, the house you are sat in and the clothes that you are wearing did not just appear, they were created, designed in a human mind. Our internal world of thoughts, ideas, feelings and emotions shapes our external world of physical things and circumstances, but the starting point, the beginning of everything is our mind.
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Science tells is that all human DNA is pretty much identical, we share 99.9% of our DNA with all other humans beings and only something like 0.01% makes up for our individual ethnic differences. Physically we have more in common with our fellow humans than we have differences but there is one area that we can see a vast difference between people, the way in which each of us think, the internal world of the mind.

What is the story you have decided to tell?

 Two prisoners looking out of the small window of their prison cell were asked, what they saw, one answered he could see the mud and gravel in the prison yard and the other answered he could see the beautiful night sky glistening with stars and a perfect moon! One was looking down and the other was looking up. How can two people who experience the exact same event have two very different experiences? Have you or someone you know ever been miserable at a party? A party is supposed to be a fun external event yet the story we tell ourselves in our mind can change the way we experience the party. Our internal dialogue, the voice in our heads, our own narratives absolutely shape the way we feel and act in the external world. What story are you telling yourself about the impact of the coronavirus?
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If you are telling yourself a story of doom and gloom, the end of the world and economic disaster then you need to change your script. This is not just some motivational, positive thinking advice this is advice on how to best adapt and spot opportunities that our current circumstances can present to us. A mind that is filled with negativity is not a mind that can problem solve and at the moment the best thing you can do is to be solution focused. Solution focused creative thinking comes from a positive mind set, a self-narrative that says, we can get through this, we are strong, we are going to be ok. There are many techniques for changing our internal dialogue but the starting point is to become aware of our thoughts and how we are choosing to interpret our external circumstances.

Taming the monkey mind

In recent years the practice of Mindfulness has gained more prominence and popularity but Mindfulness and Meditation techniques have been an ancient practice to gain control over our minds and negative thought patterns, many analogies have been used to describe the mind, such as a monkey that never sits still, an ocean with turbulent waves or a hurricane whirling with destructive force. These analogies point to a psychological reality, that the mind is not stable, emotions and feelings are constantly changing but what if we could tame the monkey? What if we could sink to the bottom of the ocean where turbulent waves could no longer be felt? What if we could sit peacefully in the eye of the storm?
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Meditation and mindfulness techniques is one of the ways in which we are able to centre and still our thoughts and emotions. These techniques work through shifting our awareness and attention, to learn how to observe our thoughts and feelings with a sense of detachment and not just identify with them. If you are interested in exploring in more detail how meditation and mindfulness can help you then please do drop me a message using my details at the end of this article, as I am offering some webinars and online tutorials exploring these ancient yet highly relevant techniques in more detail.

Perspective – Count your blessings.

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I had the blues

Because I had no shoes

When upon the street

I happen to meet

Taming the monkey mind

Meditation and mindfulness techniques is one of the ways in which we are able to centre and still our thoughts and emotions. These techniques work through shifting our awareness and attention, to learn how to observe our thoughts and feelings with a sense of detachment and not just identify with them. If you are interested in exploring in more detail how meditation and mindfulness can help you then please do drop me a message using my details at the end of this article, as I am offering some webinars and online tutorials exploring these ancient yet highly relevant techniques in more detail.

A man who had no feet!

At the beginning of this article I said it “appears” as if the world we once knew has vanished before our eyes, the world of course has not vanished, the world and nature is still there as it has always been only human society, human movement has been has been disturbed temporarily. The importance of putting the coronavirus in perspective is very important, I am not saying that the situation is not serious and we should down play what is going on in anyway, however, I do feel that a bigger perspective is important. If your problem is that you can not get any toilet roll or pasta then spare a thought for those people that have lived through war and famine.

For many of us, life is easy at present if you choose to see it that way, we are being asked to sit at home, in our comfortable, well heated homes surrounded by our family, we have phones and internet and every possible form of entertainment at our finger tips. Take the time to spare a thought for the medical personnel on the front line working tirelessly to keep this virus under control and people working in the supermarkets keeping our fridges and stores well stocked with food. When you genuinely, take the time to think of other people, whose situation is far worse than your own, you realise just how very blessed you are. One of the most powerful things you can do everyday is count your blessings, maybe a technique you would like to try is writing out everything that you are grateful for on a daily basis in a journal, the practice of writing down your blessings focuses your mind on the positive and is a fantastic way of starting your day. In the grand perspective of human history, filled with wars and famines and plagues, the coronavirus is not the end of the world, things could be a lot worse and we have a lot to be grateful for.

Personal Development – Use your time wisely

You and me have been gifted something immeasurably precious, we have been gifted time. Many of us are at home, our normal working lives have been changed as a result many of us have more time on our hands in our day, what do we do with our extra time? If ever, there was an opportunity to work on your own personal development this is it. We always hear people say that time is money but it is simply not true, money comes and goes but time once it is gone, it is gone forever. Time is the most precious thing you have!
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We have no excuses anymore! What does working on your personal development mean to you? Again, this is something I believe you have to articulate in writing. What are your personal projects? Have you always wanted to write a book? Learn how to paint? Is there some project in your home that you have always wanted to complete but never got around to? Does personal development mean spending more time with your children and helping to mentor and develop them? Are you going to get into shape? Are you going to learn a new skill? We are so fortunate to have so much access to online learning courses and the internet and our possibilities are endless and they are exciting. Use your time wisely because you will gain a greater sense of wellbeing and happiness when you work towards your own personal development, guaranteed.

Make a schedule – Get back control

In these times it is all to easy to feel powerless and it is all too easy for negativity to take a grip over our minds. One of the most powerful ways to gain control back is by making a schedule. A schedule and a things to do list will do wonders for our psychological wellbeing. The famous psychologist Jordan Peterson often say’s “clean your room” because our external environment is a reflection of our mind. With so much uncertainty in the world, we want to do the simple small acts that give us certainty and order, getting organised, having a schedule, a things to do list, keep us focused and keep us productive. The feeling of having some control over our lives will do wonders for our mental wellbeing so make a start and get super organised.

Bounce back more conscious and harmonious than ever before

I believe that this is a unique opportunity for all of us to work on ourselves, become more conscious as human beings and learn how to live more harmoniously with ourselves, with each other and with the forces of nature. We will come through this and it my hope that we will be better and wiser as society when we do emerge on the other side. I hope you enjoyed this article and found it useful, if so please do comment and share.Remember the thing that really makes the difference between people is the way they think and the story they tell themselves, make sure your story is one of empowerment and positivity.

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