When we find ourselves faced with economic difficulties, illness, stress and intense interpersonal challenges – our default as a society is to qualify these situations as bad. And under the current circumstances, that would not be surprising at all, right?
Unfortunately, the result of this kind of judgment is suffering. Let me explain. If we’re already dealing with difficult situations, compounding those challenges with our judgment can only make the situation worse.
That’s because not only are we dealing with a challenge, but we’re compounding the challenge by reacting emotionally to it. If the situation was not tiring enough – the emotional wear-and-tear can put us right over the edge.
Look at what’s happening right now – not only are most folks struggling to deal with the changes in their lives right now – but how we FEEL emotionally about all of this based on how we see/judge/assess what’s going on – and that can be as exhausting as the situation itself.
So what can we do?
Awareness is always the way – and learning to identify our particular way of “being” in stressful times is important. Once we can see our patterned behaviors to stress, we can change them. In general, we all tend to react to stress in our own particular way and I’m going to share a couple of common patterns with you and let’s see if one of them particularly resonates with you, or maybe all three do. So let’s dive in.
There are those of us who lean towards depression on and off our whole lives. We are the people who feel helpless, hopeless, inadequate, sad and downhearted when things seem overwhelming to us.
Our judgments can look like this: I don’t know how I’m going to get out of this mess, I can’t change anything to make things better, I’ve worked so hard and now look where I am, I don’t have the resources to reinvent my way out of this, Nothing I do matters, My life is going downhill and there is no way out, There is no one to help me, I’ll never be able to recover from this, etc.
For those of us who are big worriers, anxiety is a life-long companion. We are the people who are constantly second guessing life, creating tragic scenarios in our minds – none of which have happy endings! We imagine the worst will unfold and we cannot stop our minds from proposing tales of impending woe.
Our judgments often sound like this: The housing market is yet to crash and my house will be worth nothing, My business is going to fall apart, I won’t be able to pay my bills, The government’s economic structure is going to collapse and we’re going into a recession, All my stocks are going to be worth nothing, I’ll never have enough funds to retire, I can’t figure out the right choice to make in this situation, etc.
Then there are those of us who are angry, moody and irritable when the going gets rough. We are the people who have no patience for stressful situations that we feel are not being handled “correctly” and we often project those feelings out onto others.
Our judgments can mimic these thoughts: Our government is filled with idiots that are ruining my life, The president needs to die, The banking industry should be annihilated, No one knows how to handle things properly, Investment firms and stock managers should be shot. I’d love to blow up my ex-boss’s car after firing me after all these years, etc.
When you have these kinds of “negative” judgments and then suffer the emotional reactions to them, you are actually affecting your brain chemistry – further supporting the tendency to continue your current patterning. The shift in your brain function along with your intensified emotional state can steal your clarity making it more difficult to see your way out of whatever situation you’re currently in.
That’s why it’s so important to get a grip on what you are thinking, the judgments you are making, and the emotional state you are sitting in.
It’s easy to get caught up in the craziness of life and forget what we know is good advice. And that is to let go of what you cannot change and take immediate and pro-active action to shift what you can.
In addition, making sure we take the time for self-care to meditate, exercise or to do anything that brings us joy and peace is critical in these times.
I encourage you to question the thoughts that are causing you to feel the way you are feeling so that you can stay in a positive state of mind no matter what is happening outside of yourself. Try focusing on gratitude where you can find it, volunteering, helping others worse off than yourself, and remember: keep your heart open at all times!
Need Some Extra Help??
Stress can be overwhelming but isolating yourself and trying to deal with things yourself can be even worse. If you feel that you need emotional support – please let us know and we will share with you how we might be able to help. 🙂
Dr Sheri Rosenthal is known as one of the most sought after retreat strategists for coaches, speakers, and authors — and is the owner of Journeys of the Spirit Travel®, a boutique agency specializing in the planning and management of group travel.
Through her Wanderlust Entrepreneur Community and her signature course, The Retreat Blueprint Program, she has taught thousands of facilitators how to design exceptional retreats that allow them stand out in their niche. She loves helping clients plan, fill, and profit from transformational retreats that change lives in a huge way while adding serious income to their bottom line!