These days we seem to be living amongst information overload. We have negative news updates now creeping into our social media feeds, terrorism fears, constant internal comparisons to instagram accounts with stacks of followers, we're seeing the current gun violence in the US, we have financial fears.. the list goes on. We cannot deny the times that we find ourselves living in, but we can take control of how we, as individuals and as a community, respond to them.
The truth is, shit happens and its going to happen. Once upon a time we all knew this, but our current world plasters perfection everywhere and its as if we've lost sight of the real world (this absolutely does not condone violence or hatred of any kind, and it never will. Those kind of acts must be dealt with effectively.) Life will always be an ebb and flow, just like the seasons, circumstances will always come and go. Once we learn to let go and allow nature to take it's course (allow the negative circumstance to naturally subside), we are reminded that everything is only ever temporary and there is always a lesson to be learned, and a greater outcome awaiting us.
With all of that in mind, here are my tips for 'weathering the negative storms' and keeping a positive mind:
- Have compassion. Compassion or those communities effected, compassion for your co-workers, compassion for your neighbour driving you nuts, compassion for the driver who just cut you off on the road. We must expand our awareness to the fact that, in one way or another, we're all struggling. That neighbour who is driving you nuts; may be about to lose a parent, that driver who just cut you off; may have just lost their job and may not know how they will pay their rent this month. No one is rude, angry or hurtful to another when they are genuinely happy in their own life. Once we understand this, it makes it a lot easier to deal with negative/unhappy people.
- Only concern yourself with what you can control. This one can be a hard idea to grasp, but once we do, it's very freeing. It doesn't change the circumstance, but it changes your reaction to it. It's not about sitting back helplessly, it's simply the act of letting outside circumstances be managed by those who have the power to make the change. Stress and worry wreak havoc on our nervous system, so when we stress that our train is delayed and we are now late for work, we're asking for a morning of chaos; unnecessary anxiety, stress & worry. Stressing while sitting on the train wont make it go any faster and you cant get out and push it! So this is where you accept that you're going to be late, let those who need to know, know and enjoy the extra 20 mins you get out of the office! Relax, your co-workers wont even be thinking anything of it anyway, they're busy reading their emails or trawling news.com.au.
- Appreciation for everything. Even when times are tough, there is always something to be grateful for. Be thankful for the person who held the train door for you, be grateful for the lovely meal you ate, appreciate your income every month, thankful for the roof over your head, grateful for your loving partner or family. As much as there are endless negative things we could think about, there are endless positive things. The more you turn your attention to the good things in your life, the more they will show up. It is law!
- Acceptance of the circumstances. Accept that crappy things happen, accept that you will move through it and accept that the sun will break and you will find yourself on the other side, wiser, stronger, smarter and with a fresh outlook.
All it takes is one small positive action towards another to have a positive ripple effect. You may be the reason that person smiled this morning, they may then hold the door for another, that person may then buy their co-worker a coffee. All of these small action pay it forward for more optimism and positivity throughout us all.
How can you pay it forward today?