It's easy to get overwhelmed in today's landscape. Even a quick scroll through the latest headlines can deflate anyone's hope. I know I've let myself get absorbed with scary statistics which is followed by a spiral of worry. If worry becomes part of our new normal, then we must offset it with something positive to provide balance.
Achieving this balance, however, is now more complicated than anyone has ever seen in their lifetime. Gone is our past normal we once knew even just a few months ago. Reality is different now and it's here. Every single individual in the world is having to cope in the best way they know how. Thing is, it's not common for the average person to know how to handle something new, especially as precarious as a pandemic. So if you're spiraling with worry, grieving for what's happening in the world or just sad that our past normal has vanished, it's OK to allow yourself to feel whatever comes up.
None of us really know what the future will look like. But we do know that we are here today so why not just focus on today and only today. That's not to say you don't still have the future in the back of your mind, but switching your primary focus to just today can narrow in your attention.
You can shift your attention by taking one day at a time and infuse with mindfulness; meaning, turn off autopilot and really focus on what you're doing -- become the observer and the experiencer instead of the rusher. This may take practice, but you'll get the hang of it.
How you can start with mindfulness is to focus on your senses -- sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch. In addition to the senses also add focusing on your breath, how your body feels and tuning in to how you're feeling emotionally at this moment too. Make a reference list of these things if it helps. There is a chorus of subtle experiences just waiting to sing out for you if you're willing to shift your focus and attention.
Once you've got your focus on this moment, let what surrounds you overwhelm your senses. If you're near an open window, listen for the sounds outside -- to the birds singing, to the raindrops, to the breeze, to the stillness. If you have children or pets in your home, observe their actions, their expressions, their essence. Whatever surrounds you, just take it in. You're now living mindfully in the moment. And this moment (your moment) is now miles away from the unknown future saturated with worry.
Now that you've tapped into the mindfulness with your senses at this moment, you can expand this out and apply it with each step in your day. While you're making food for yourself, notice your actions and motions. Are they swift hurrying movements? The more you focus and pay attention, the more you may slow down. If you do notice yourself moving slower, you're allowing yourself to shift down a level in the pace that you live.
Adopting this focused attention of mindfulness has the power to shift your thoughts from the future to one day at a time. This practice not only has the potential to help minimize worry about the future, it also has the potential for you to reserve or recharge your energy to live more fully and more happily for today.
Take care of yourself always and recharge your self-care often.
P.S. Take a breather and recharge with a guided imagery video: ocean wave breathing (meditation below).
P.P.S. If anyone wants/needs to reach out to vent or share how you're doing, you are always welcome to connect with me via email at Kelly@HappinessRecharge.com.
Kelly Stone Cramer