I was reading this week about how one out of every four people in the US, right now, are suffering from anxiety and/or depression. That means that it is probably more than one out of four, because not everyone admits this. My first reaction was that I am not surprised given that we have been through so much in the past few years. Covid, uncertainty, isolation, fear, political distrust, policing, racial unrest, mass shootings, climate changes, disappointment, soaring prices, scarcity of goods and manners, etc. etc. That sounds like a list of reasons to be depressed about the past or anxious over the future.
So what to do when things still feel uncertain? First of all--notice how YOU are right now. Write down the things that bother you the most. Be very explicit. For example--if you hate calling the doctor and getting stuck on hold and having to call back and then being told to sign up online and then another 60 minutes go by..say so. (That's one of mine.) If you wish things could just be "normal" meaning the "before" times, say so and say what you are missing. If you are finding it hard to experience contentment, happiness, joy or feel hopeful--say so and say why. If you are noticing that you are doing pretty well, but dealing with everyone else's stress is getting to you--that's worth noting. That drags us down too.
Which brings me to my second point. What is YOURS, and what is NOT yours to handle? This is an important distinction because when we focus on ourselves, we have agency, power and the ability to change. When we focus on other people improving--that's a losing game. We can't make anyone do anything, think anything, feel anything because WE want them to. That's on them.
Thirdly, with a mindset of abundant self compassion and kindness, open your mind and heart to the possibility that solutions do exist, even if they don't appear right now. There are ways in which your family, your community, the world you live in can get better. How? When? Who will do it? What role will you play? What is realistic? To be determined.
Expecting bad things to happen will focus your attention on all the bad things happening. Expecting good things to happen even if you can't see them at the moment, will place you on a path of hopefulness. Positive energy will support you and the idea that the universe is abundant. You are abundant. The answers will be found somewhere between the problem and all that empty space which is SOOO much bigger than the problem--and the ultimate solution.
Wayne Dyer once said "You will see it when you believe it." Usually we hear the opposite--I'll believe it when I see it. This speaks to how important it is for our own benefit to start believing in what I call "kindergarten manners."
Be nice to everyone. Say hi to people you don't know. Say you're sorry when you do the wrong thing. Clean up after yourself. Share. Buddy up to make the workload lighter. Follow directions. Open the door for someone. Say thank you. Be honest.
Let it be easy--or easier at the very least. You deserve that. Let it be enough.
xo Coach Karen :))
P.S. Think of a favorite kindergarten memory--and let me know what makes you smile. Was it a teacher? Eating oreos with a 1/2 pint of milk for a snack? Riding the bus? The smell of your new crayons?