Initially, I was going to write an article that was serious. It was going to be a heavy piece that focused on the daily struggle of bad news, detailing stressful situations and global issues that we are bombarded with on various media platforms. But no matter how hard I tried to find news to report on, my spirit was not at ease. I couldn’t find it within me; or shall I say, my spirit woman would not allow me to rehash what has already been reported. Most of you already know what is going on in the world, in your communities and with our beloved Mills. You see and hear it every day.
But no one is giving us the tools necessary to find inner peace.
We don’t hear too much talk about how to get past the distortions of reality, or how to deal with the “maya” of everyday life. In Hindu philosophy, “maya” is the limited physical and mental reality in which everyday consciousness has become entangled. It is the illusion of what we believe to be real. But one must question what is real, and what is the reality that one creates for oneself?
Just think about it for a second. Think about how the world we live in is so much bigger than us. It is bigger than our problems and bigger than the people in our lives and the situations we find ourselves in.
Our world is a small portion of the universe, and it is comprised of nothing but the potential for new opportunities that can be found in what we believe to be failures.
Every day that we live life, we are given chances to rebrand, refocus and reconfigure our ideas and visions for ourselves after an application is denied or we hear “we’ve chosen to move in a different direction” when losing a job.
I believe that every aspect of your life has been created by divine design to give you the proper training in life for how to handle every situation and circumstance in which you find yourself. But you have to be open-minded enough to see new chances for improvement in what you once believed to be obstacles.
When given the opportunity to slow down from the fast pace of life, just stop for a second and think about how far you’ve come in life. Reflect upon the many challenges you have overcome, accompanied by the many victories you have experienced. When you focus more on the good things in your life, you will become encouraged by the great expansion of new territories in new ideas, fresh creations and life–changing innovations that will give you the room needed to grow. You will walk into a newer version of yourself that you honestly never imagined existed.
When you feel as if life is closing in on you, or as if the pressures of life are getting the best of you, conduct the following exercise recommended by the Center for Disease Control (CDC):
Take a break: Step away from the TV for a while, step away from social media, and simply find some quiet time and open space to decompress. Although it’s good to be informed about current events, constantly feeding yourself news about other people’s hardships, learning of new traumatic events and even hearing gossip and witnessing conflict on a constant basis can be upsetting. Start limiting your news consumption to just a couple of times a day. This includes disconnecting from or putting down your phone and stepping away from the TV or computer screens for at least 15 to 30 minutes.
Take care of yourself: Start choosing healthier food options, get as much exercise as possible and plenty of sleep. The more your body rests, the easier it is for it to rejuvenate. Move the body to get the blood flowing. Feed the body proper nutrition so that it functions properly. And give yourself a break if you feel stressed out. Do not stretch yourself too thin by taking on additional work that you can’t handle alone.
Recognize when you need more help: Normalize talking to others about the feelings you are experiencing. Do seek help from a certified and trained clinical technician, mental health specialist or practicing psychiatrist if you are experiencing dark thoughts or feelings of wanting to harm yourself or others. You can also speak with a school social worker or professional counselors if the other professionals aren’t available to you. But share your problems (and how you are feeling about them) with a parent, friend, counselor, doctor or even a religious leader. You are not alone! There are people who care about you and are more than willing to assist you.
Here are a few quotes to consider when feeling overwhelmed:
“The truth is that stress doesn’t come from your boss, your kids, your spouse, traffic jams, health challenges, or other circumstances. It comes from your thoughts about your circumstances.”
“To experience peace does not mean that your life is always blissful. It means that you are capable of tapping into a blissful state of mind amidst the normal chaos of a hectic life.”
―Jill Botte Taylor
“When you find yourself stressed, ask yourself one question: Will this matter in 5 years from now? If yes, then do something about the situation. If no, then let it go.”
“Rule number one is, don’t sweat the small stuff. Rule number two is, it’s all small stuff.”—Robert Eliot
We are all human, meaning we all make mistakes. We constantly replay negative experiences from our past in our heads, or we have conversations with ourselves over fears of what may happen in the near future. We beat ourselves up over what we should have done, even making ourselves sick over what may happen in the “what if” moments of life. Let go of the past. It has already happened, and there is absolutely nothing you can do to change whatever “it” is. Examine the issues, situations and circumstances surrounding that incident by pinpointing what lessons were learned from that experience and move on. “What if” hasn’t even happened yet, and most of us are already experiencing anxiety over what we have convinced will take place. Relax! Everything will work out fine. Exactly the way it’s supposed to, in divine order. There are so many good things in life to be excited about.
If you are in crisis, get immediate help:
- Call 911 for emergencies
- Disaster Distress Helpline: call or text 1-800-985-5990 (for Spanish, press “2”) to be connected with a trained counselor.
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for English, 1-888-628-9454 for Spanish, or Lifeline Crisis Chat.
- National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 or text LOVEIS to 22522
- National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-4AChild (1-800-422-4453) or text 1-800-422-4453
- National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or Online Chat
- The Eldercare: 1-800-677-1116
- Veteran’s Crisis Line: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or Crisis Chat or text: 8388255