This week's question comes from my husband, Adam:
Q. How can I stay positive with everything happening in the world?
A. Oooh. That's a doozy. (See why I had to share this one with you all? Pretty sure we're all on the same page.)
First things first. It's ok to feel pissed off. Or heartbroken. If you're feeling a feeling, it's automatically ok to feel it.
The truth is: You actually DON'T need to stay positive all the time. It's not realistic or sustainable, it's not healthy, and it's actually really annoying. Real talk.
Judging yourself for having a feeling is like judging yourself for needing oxygen. Are you human? ...Yeah. Me too.
So let The Big Bad Feeling just wash over you and run its course. Just like we allow a toddler to feel their feelings while we keep them safe, we have to let our own freak out happen. Ugly cry. Roll on the floor. Bang on some makeshift drums. That's what allows the emotion to move out of the physical and energetic body, making room for the heart and mind to take back the reins and transmute the feelings into clarity and action.
If we're feeling like we're "stuck in the soup," it's very likely that we're not grounded. In other words, the emotion is being trapped in the mind and body, and we're holding on tight - clenching every muscle, replaying every scene and detail on an endless mental loop.
If we're safe in this moment, then it's time to shut off the tv, and put down the phone. It's time to get back in your body and get it moving. Put on some music. Whatever pops into your mind is great, as long as it makes you feel something and gets your bones moving. Haim. Old school gangsta rap. Maybe some Limp Bizkit, circa 1999. Whatever it takes.
Focus on really feeling it, moving to the music, and breathing. Close your eyes. Let the world fall away, for like 5 minutes... Or however long it takes. You'll know when you're ready to move on and do something else.
And then, here's what works for my 2 year old (and everybody else): Stretch up to the sky and breathe all the way in. Then touch your toes and blow all of the air out. At least three times.
Now that you're a little more centered...
Make a list of all the things that you CAN do to help right now, and DO one. What are some ways that you can help or contribute? You can call your senators. Donate money or time to a charity benefitting Puerto Rico or Mexico City. Organize a supply drive for people who have had to evacuate their homes due to the fires in California.
And what about what you can do to help yourself feel more in control of your own situation? Make a list and pick one action item. Buy some water and canned goods. Make a fire escape plan with your family. Earthquake proof your house. Just pick one thing, and do it.
Are you still feeling upset?
Look into EFT, or Emotional Freedom Technique. There are some free videos on YouTube that show you how to do it. It might feel silly (I used to). You might be skeptical (I was). I know. But what finally made me a believer was the number of times that it worked on level 10 emotions, even when I thought it was ridiculous.
Phone a friend. FaceTime or meet up with a person who leaves you feelingbetter, not worse. This person will make you feel good. Smile. Laugh. If you find yourself getting together with people (in real life or online) to simply rehash and re-stimulate all the sources of your anger and sadness and frustration, the fact is that it's not helping anybody to feel better. I'm not saying not to vent. But be sure to check in with yourself about when it's venting, and when it's just keeping you stuck.
Send out an SOS. If you're still needing help, reach out! There are plenty of professionals that will line up with whatever you're looking for. Licensed therapists. Hypnotherapists. RTT. EFT.
Life is too short to feel awful and alone.
Being spiritual doesn't mean inaction. It doesn't mean being perfect, and it doesn't mean that you're happy all the time.
But it is a great anchor when you feel like you're being swept away by a terrifyingly strong current. Spirituality (at its best) is a steady and reassuring reminder that, even through the darkest nights, you are never truly alone.
Thanks for asking a stellar question, hubs!
Is there anything in this answer that sparked another question? What else would you like to learn about?