Between the pandemic, the current war between Russia and Ukraine, and the Roe v Wade reversal, life may feel surreal. You may ask what year are we living in? This is not the 1940’s, it is 2022! How are you coping with the news? How much of it are you watching and/or listening to? How is it impacting you and your relationships? If you are feeling more anxiety, fear, sadness and/or stress, this is completely understandable.
If you are finding yourself avoiding the daily updates on the war or the news on the next Covid variant, that makes sense too. If, on the other hand, you find yourself glued to the tv, radio, or online news, this is also a common reaction. The powerless feeling that many people have over the past two years and now is an appropriate one. So how do we cope? The good news? We have choices.
If you are in a 12-step program or familiar with the program, then you know the Serenity Prayer. (if you don’t know it, google it and keep a picture of it on your phone.) It is a great reminder that we have total control over ourselves and how we choose to respond to that which is happening around us, even when we can’t control the external factors themselves. For example, choosing to meditate, pray, exercise, go to therapy, donate your time or money are all positive choices you can make versus increasing your drinking, overeating, ignoring your emotions and end up with panic attacks or depression.
How helpful is your partner in talking about what is happening in the world? Do you and your significant other have similar outlooks? Does your partner help you to feel more hopeful about the future or maybe gets you more anxious? If you are married or in a relationship, I remind you that as a team you can help each other with all these challenges, tragedies, and changes. Oftentimes one partner in a relationship can be more grounded if the other person is struggling. If you are both struggling, find a meditation to do together, go for a walk together, do something physical and positive as a couple.
Last, it is important to note that the grief, loss, and pain we have been experiencing and continue to experience, is a direct reflection of the love we feel. Remember that most all of us want to be with our loved ones and know that all those we love are healthy and safe. No matter what your political, religious beliefs, we really all want the same thing-safety and health for ourselves and our families.
So again, when we don’t recognize the world around us and are struggling to make sense of it all, find inner strength, look to your partner to help you cope, find a therapist, a 12 step program or support group, a meditation practice, or anything positive that you can choose to do for yourself. With all that is happening in the world, we have many reminders that life is precious..live it to the fullest right here and now.