Everything coming at us right now is purposefully designed to unsettle us. We have to work to be settled in an environment like this. Here are three simple steps you can take to find peace in the midst of the chaos, and likely help others around you do more of the same:
1) Control Your Inputs.
A friend told me yesterday that he needs to replace the screen on his brand new, fancy-schmancy, big-screen OLED television. You know why? Because the banner running across the bottom of the screen of his news channel of choice has scorched itself into the screen. I didn’t even know that was possible.
Turn off Fox News. Turn off CNN. The former has a daily show called “Special Report,” a phrase that was once reserved for something that was Earth-shattering news, and the latter has a daily show called “The Situation Room,” which used to be an actual place in the West Wing of the White House reserved for the most serious of situations are discussed.
No, I’m not suggesting you should be uninformed or fast completely from watching the news, but how can you control those inputs better? For me, I swore off TV news years ago because it seems endemically prone to sensationalism and bias (although yes, everything is biased).
I prefer to read my news through an old-fashioned daily national newspaper and a daily email newsletter that doesn’t take itself too seriously, both with a financial/business bent. Then, I check a few currated newsworthy sources on Twitter a couple times a day.
But most importantly, if I sense my anxiety level rising, I shut down all inflows, because in order to best impact those in my sphere of influence, it’s better to be at peace than to be informed.
2) Broaden your perspective.
The present becomes the past instantaneously. Today becomes yesterday and this year becomes last year. “Can you believe?” becomes “Remember when?” much faster than it feels in the moment.
Whatever happens on Tuesday, it, too, will become the norm and subsequently, history.
3) Practice gratitude and empathy.
Well, I never thought I’d do this, but I’m going to quote Tony Robbins, because he’s just plain right:
You can’t be angry and grateful simultaneously. You can’t be fearful and grateful simultaneously. So, gratitude is the solution to both anger and fear, and instead of just acting grateful, I think of specific situations that I’m grateful for, little ones and big ones. I do it every single day.Tony Robbins
And if you were as surprised as I was that I quoted Robbins, now I’m going to go off the deep end and quote Kanye West, but only because his presidential candidacy is entirely lacking in viability:
Empathy is the glue.Kanye West
Practicing gratefulness is an inward step that can be insurance against anger and fear–and practicing empathy, putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, is an outward step that almost immediately eliminates the barriers between us as humans.
And maybe there’s another lesson in there someplace…that it’s possible to find Truth in unlikely places?
For further reading: