How to Stay Calm When the World Might Be Ending

This morning as I watched Morning Joe I felt the familiar stress of the uncertainty in the world right now. It seems everyone has become an expert in politics and its almost always a topic of conversation.  Personally, I try to achieve a balance between awareness (upset) and acceptance (not investing energy in anger). I believe it is our responsibility as a citizen of the country to express our feelings, however, I do not believe it is worth risking my personal happiness.

Here are my top 3 tips for staying positive and calm through uncertain and stressful times.

  1. Take Inventory. Reflect on the constants in your life and the things you have control over. For example: you have a home to go to everyday, maybe you have a class you attend after work consistently. Seek out stability and consistency in things you can control.
  2. Gratitude. There are a multitude of studies which show that gratitude is the the ultimate way to happiness. I try to make an effort to acknowledge everything that I have in the world and to appreciate those things. It is easy to get caught up int the next big thing that you don’t yet have or be (rightfully) worried about the future. However, if we can appreciate what we have now, it will only make the future brighter. Bonus points if you document this gratitude so that you can reflect on it on more difficult days!
  3. Distraction. Exercise (physical movement of the body) is often an amazing chance to distract yourself, to focus on something other than the issue at hand and I have never met someone who regretted doing to a workout.  Going to the movies, reading a book, meditating can also be excellent ways to distract yourself from your stress, and the real beauty of distraction is that it allows your brain to have new thoughts. I find that its easy to get into a cycle of negativity, but taking a break can let you see the situation with greater clarity.
  4. Action. Action may mean going to a rally, making a donation to an organization you believe in or volunteering on the weekend to show others that people are naturally good. Again, action can be good for breaking the negativity/anxiety cycle and it gives the added benefit of improving the world around you!

What do you do when the stress becomes too much? Does uncertainly worry you or do you thrive on the adventure?