Updated: Apr 3, 2020
If you turn on the news or look at social media, you will notice there is a lot of panic and fear going around. We discussed about Managing Fear at Times of Crisis in our last blog post. Hope you found some of those tips helpful. Today, we'll look at how we can take "managing our reactions" to the next level. Let's talk about the power of positivity, optimism, and balance in times of crisis.
Positivity and optimism are not just valuable traits to have in your personality rolodex. They are valuable tools to help shape our inner thoughts, our emotions, our energy and ultimately what we manifest in our world around us.*
The ability to look at a situation with optimism enables one's mind to look for the opportunities and potential instead of focusing on what is not going according to expectations. This may relieve the anxiety and stress one may be experiencing in a difficult situation. Optimism enables us to sow seeds of positivity in our thoughts, our energy, and our actions. From my experience, little acts of optimism can compound into more significant results. For example, on a day that I am feeling particularly low, I will either do a quick workout or put on make up before I start the day. I have a hypothesis: this is energetically or attitudinally establishing that you will conquer the day no matter what comes you way. If you feel great about how your body or image feels, it gives you that little boost. This "fake it til you make it" mechanism enables you to get over the slump.
One of the difficult things about dealing with crisis is finding hope. Especially when experiencing despair or depression, it seems like hope is impossible. At these times, it can feel like that difficult moment will not pass. That it is all consuming, and that there is no way out. This is another moment that optimism can come handy. Optimism and positivity can helps us find hope at times of difficulty.
Optimism and positivity are not synonymous. Optimism has to do with your attitude towards the future in the face of uncertainty . You chose to believe that things are more likely to turn out OK. Positivity has to do with the quality of your mood, your thoughts, your actions and energy. Positivity is what is required to uplift and boost your mood (and of people around you).
Pessimism too plays a role in handling crisis. Imagine if in this situation of the COVID19 Shelter in place period, that we don't sift through the information we receive. We don't verify the facts with credible sources. Imagine if we are just being optimistic and think "everything will be alright and I'm going to throw all the caution to the wind and carry on as if nothing is wrong". This is the extreme we want to avoid. And this is where pessimism comes in handy. Pessimism enables you to inquire, question, be critical in thinking. It can help you deeply connect with reality and maintain a grounded, sober attitude as you seek solutions. Also, pessimism might reveal things that needs improvement and it can prompt you to change something.
I am advocating for a balance between optimism and pessimism, layered by a positive attitude. Develop the ability zoom between optimism and pessimism. To be a pragmatist, you need a little bit of both pessimism and optimism. Understanding that you are a part of a bigger system and that you have a role to play, have a positive attitude that you can do something that you can indeed made things better.
If you are finding yourself in a place where you are not able to access positive thoughts or generate positive ideas, here are some quick tricks you can try to boost your mood:
Exercise: Get those endorphins flowing! Endorphins are associated with reducing stress and relieving pain. In addition to endorphins, other chemicals like dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin are also released when you exercise. These are crucial for the health of your body and mind. Go for a walk, stretch, swim, do yoga, or do a higher intensity workout - totally up to you. Healthy body = healthy mind!
Gratitude journal: Sounds cheesy, I know! I personally don't do an actual gratitude journal myself. But people swear by it. What I do is a mental list or an actual written list of people or things that I am grateful for. Almost everyday I do a mental list. At times, when things are more challenging or I am at a darker place, I do the written down list.
Mindfulness / Meditation practices: There are several ancient techniques you can use: (1) Breathing techniques to calm or awaken (2) Visualization of the state you want to experience (3) You can use mantras or affirmations to access your willpower to achieve the positive state you envision. Here is one of our favorite techniques because it feels like it clears away negative "vibes" - whether internal or external. We even drew some inspiration from it for certain features of the Cymatix. It's called Voluntary Energetic Longitudinal Oscillation - I know it's a mouthful, but VELO is a nice abbreviation. Basically, you move your attention from top of your head to the bottom of your feet and back up again, in an oscillatory, sweeping pattern. There is a link in my previous post to learn about this technique from a VELO expert.
Creativity: Some artists and creatives thrive at times of crisis by channeling all of their emotions into their art and creations. An outlet to process emotions is a very powerful tool.
Forest bathing / Hike / Nature: **NOTE: NOT RECOMMENDED DURING THE COVID-19 LOCK DOWN** Under normal circumstances, accessing nature is a very good mood booster. In addition to the benefits of exercise, you also get exposed to sunlight that is so important to regulate hormones in our body (but wear sun protection). You get to absorb natural energy from the sun, air, earth, plants, water, etc. You can recharge yourself with the help of nature. One example of how this helped me tremendously in 2019 was when the Easter Sunday massacre happened in Sri Lanka. I have family and friends in Sri Lanka and I was worried sick. It was a real dark time for me. We had a long and great hike the day before this incident happened and I believe it prepared me better to deal with what happened the next day. I went into a depression following this incident. What finally helped me overcome it was a trip to the wilderness of Alaska and its glorious glaciers. It instilled so much awe and inspiration in me that I was able to find hope again and it lifted my spirit.
There is an excellent course coming up on The Law of Attraction: How to successfully apply the theory in practice by one of friends Joel Tortolero on Sunday, April 5 from 11am - 2pm PST online. If you want to go deep into the theory and get some tips on how to apply this to help improve your life, you can click here to find out more and register for that course.
Rupert Sheldrake's Morphic Resonance and Morphic Fields