Summary: Holiday season always includes the idea of peace and goodwill toward all. Yet, I keep getting emails explaining how tired most of you are about the state of the world. Here is one email among many that are all requesting the same thing: how do I get some peace of mind? Here is the email and how I responded.
Dear Dr. Sylvia,
All I can say is, AGAIN? This pandemic is getting tiring!
Frozen with fear is a common state in trying times.
Consequently, I freeze with fear. The news is awful, my health is fair, my finances are poor, and my ability to look at this time as a “learning experience” is dwindling.
I can barely talk with my employees and stay positive. At home, I have the patience of an inchworm.
For instance, how the hell do I climb out of this dark place? It looks like the bad news will keep going and going. I need to know what is happening globally; however, I want to stop getting information since none looks good.
Positive thoughts only work, up to a point.
Above all, I keep talking to myself and thinking positive thoughts. Nothing is working. Any suggestions?
Unhappy and unlucky
Dear Unhappy and unlucky,
Most importantly, you are speaking for all of us in these days of walking in the unknown. Is this a moment in time, or is it Armageddon?
What comes to mind is what my dear teacher, Ram Dass, said when asked what to do if things are terrible.
Renowned teacher Ram Dass offers important advice.
He said if it is just a moment in time, “I center myself, do my best to be of service, and live in the moment.”
And if it is the worst of times, he said, “I center myself, do my best to be of service, and live in the moment.”
Above all, I know this may not make you happy and lucky, and yet, it is the best advice I have right now.
Living in the present moment is not easy, however it is necessary.
If you are in a leadership position or an emerging leader, you need to take some deep breaths to shake off the fear and be a model for others to emulate.
Here are a few suggestions:
Take time to be quiet and recalibrate
Fear expands to “what if,” and the result is “we’re all gonna die.” Then, what do most of us do? We give up, curl into a ball and wait for the worst to happen.
In other words, recalibrate, rethink, re-engage. Yes, we’re all going to die sooner or later. However, that is NOT the issue at hand.
It’s about finding the “pony in the manure pile.” (If you don’t know the story, it’s about a little boy who is sure the pony he dreamed of getting for his birthday is there, yes there somewhere in that pile of manure).
Check your emotional temperature.
Often fear in the present is part of your past story or else part of the story from your ancestors. You do not have to repeat the story of generations gone by the same way they did. Think about those in your family who had to endure war or a recession or severe health issues.
How did they handle trying times? Learn from them. You can change the pattern to a more positive one once you become a detective and ask about their stories.
Focus on a routine for your health
In the same vein, decide if you would be better off with a piece of fruit instead of a glass of wine. Indulge if you must in the mashed potatoes or macaroni or pasta that remind you of easier childhood times.
However, make sure you drink water, and again, from childhood, eat your veggies.
Reach out and touch someone even if it is virtually.
In this virtual world where social distancing is a way of being responsible, please find someone you can email or call (hearing someone’s voice can be super comforting) and say two things, ask how they are, and ask how you can be of help.
Doing for others is a way of feeling good about you too.
A quote attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt sums up what you, as a leader, need to remember today and tomorrow and then the next day “Women (all people) are like teabags. You can’t tell how strong they are until they are in hot water.”
This is time to find out how strong you are and what to do next.
To sum up, this is a time to think about how you and you and you, all of us begin to understand that “we’re all in it together, and no one wins unless we all do.”
We are hopefully finally moving from a ‘me” to a “we” world that is just now coming into focus. Let’s all do our part and not let fear freeze us.
To your success,
PS. Want a fantastic easy book to give someone you care about for the holidays? My book, Invisible Stress (It’s NOT What YOU Think), is available now on amazon.