In a fast-paced and chaotic world, finding peace of mind can feel like an elusive goal. There’s no way to sugarcoat it – life is full of hardships and events around the world can be scary. The older we get, the less we are protected by fantasy and the naiveties from when we were young.
Before heading off to work or getting the kids up for school, we check in with our neighbourhood news station, licking our fingers to flip through the newspaper, and doom scrolling through social media updates. It’s not long before we are flooded with sadness, loss, violence, and financial catastrophes. Way to start our Monday morning, am I right?
However, by implementing practical strategies, we can cultivate a sense of calm and serenity amidst the turmoil. In this article, we’ll explore the realness of our reality, normalise our fears, and learn how to stay mentally strong in these turbulent times.
Boundary Setting: Limiting Your Newsfeed
Protecting your peace of mind starts with boundary setting. Not the kind of boundary setting where we must muster up the courage to let our mother-in-law know that she is calling too much – is that just me?
This kind of boundary setting comes with reducing our time spent on social media and time spent absorbing too much negative news content. As a human, we do not have the mental capacity to process continuous trauma from media sources. Setting boundaries aids in limiting the amount of content we are viewing. While we engage in due diligence by being well-informed, we can also engage in capping how much information we are exposing ourselves to.
When it comes to setting media-related boundaries, we can start with timing ourselves when watching the news, only checking in with social media once per day, and muting notifications from news sources.
If these strategies prove ineffective, consider taking a break from social media, even if it’s just for a day.
Find Balance In Turbulent Times: The Power Of Self-Care
If we start our days with negative content, it’s important to recalibrate prior to heading into the rest of our day. Taking a few moments to yourselves, smearing some retinol on your neck, going on a walk, grabbing a cup of coffee at your local café, or spending time with your partner or kiddos can provide balance after feeling emotionally disrupted and upset.
Replace negative thoughts with positive ones. The greater amount of time you dedicate to productive reflections focused on personal growth, the lesser amount of time you will waste dwelling on issues that only bring you down.
Reminding Yourself: ‘There’s News Not Being Shared’
News sources are typically motivated by clicks, views, comments, re-posts, and activity. Because of this, news sources may highlight certain aspects of a situation to get reactions from viewers, leaving out additional narratives, in addition to other positive news events. Very rarely do we hear “Breaking News: your local middle school volunteered at an assisted living facility over the weekend.”
Thus, it’s important to remind ourselves that there are a lot of positive events going on in the world as well. Connecting with local community papers, school newspapers, and other resources – such as the Good News Network and Positive News which provide exclusively positive information or even CrunchyTales-can help increase your social media feed with the goodness and wellness people are doing in their communities.
Getting Involved: Making an Impact
We can be a part of those positive news stories, too. Volunteering, getting involved with local organizations and food drives, participating in walks for a cause, and being a friendly neighbour are all ways to spread positivity. For larger world events we can also get more involved if we are feeling pulled to do so (there’s no pressure, here). Reaching out to congresses, making donations, and voting are additional ways to get involved on a larger scale.
Continuing to Persevere: Focusing on Meaning
While setting boundaries, engaging in self-care, and increasing positive news in your world are all helpful ways to maintain mental peace and wellness, it is hard to get away from all the negativity around us (and that isn’t always the goal). In these moments it’s important to persevere in ways that feel most meaningful to you.
It’s easy to get emotionally drained and bogged down by the negativity around you. And while it is important to make space for your upset, it’s equally important to focus on personal values to continue living, even amongst the chaos that surrounds us. Find out what’s important to you and incorporate more of that into your daily living.
Seeking Mental Health Support
While there are many self-guided ways to maintain mental health during these turbulent times, such as those listed above, many of us may feel drastically burdened by the weight of the world.
Sometimes, self-help books that focus on anxiety management can be very helpful such as “Be Calm” by psychologist Jill Weber, PhD, (plenty of techniques to deal with intrusive, racing thoughts and panic attacks when they strike) or “Don’t Feed the Monkey Mind” by psychotherapist Jennifer Shannon (a much-needed read for people who feel like their brains never take a break from the vicious cycle of constant overthinking and worrying).
There are also several podcasts offering a range of approaches to dealing with anxiety like “The Calmer You Podcast” by the hypnotherapist, coach and author of the bestselling book The Anxiety Solution, Chloe Brotheridge, or “The Happiness Lab” by Dr Laurie Santos, a renowned professor at Yale University, who has delved deep into the science of happiness.
However, if you find yourself with decreased motivation, depressive thoughts and feelings, it’s important to reach out for additional support. Mental health providers are trained to aid us in navigating the difficulties that come with living, especially those scary realities that can be very much out of our control.
The Take Away
Remember, you can control how you view, process and react to events. While there are many scary aspects to life, there are also many wonderful moments. Taking care of yourself and focusing on what’s important to you are key ways to live amidst chaos while tending to your psychological well-being.