by Ruth Anne Mak
Living a positive and joyful life can be a challenge in our media-saturated society where every event can be broadcast live on tv news channels, uploaded to YouTube or internet news sites, and seen by millions of people all over the world almost instantly, but it can be done. We can see every second of every disaster and crime committed, watch hours of misery and read about it online as we watch it, play it back, frantically search for updates, even post our opinions and argue with people from anywhere in the world from our favorite chair. We can see and visit the whole world and comment on most of it all in ten minutes, but how is all this imagery and the fear and anger we see affecting us? What can we do to avoid feeling fearful and hopeless?
Before news changed to instant streams of commentary and imagery we got our news from newspapers, magazines, or news shows we watched or listened to perhaps once a day. The programmers had time for less than an hour of news, so they chose newsworthy stories that affected the most people and they simply reported them to us. We didn’t see every accident or hear every gunshot, watch burning buildings, or hear anguished cries for help right in our living rooms. That has changed, and if you watch and read news a lot you may wonder how any humans are left alive on the planet by now.
It can be a slippery slope from reading one article describing an event or hearing one broadcast to biting fingernails, preparing safe rooms, and slipping into depression, since sound bites are professionally designed to keep us hooked, but there is good news in all the chaos. I work with many people who are very sensitive to all this negativity and am myself, and I have found ways to help us stay positive and live full, joyful, peaceful lives despite the supposed horrors that we are told surround us. There are concrete, simple ways to avoid falling down the rabbit hole that leads to depression and hopelessness, and I hope that you will try these techniques to let go of fear and despair. Not only can you feel better, but you can spread some positive energy and hope for our future instead of feeling sad and helpless.
- When disaster strikes or breaking news announces another shooting or robbery, be aware that you will start absorbing the energy from the broadcast you see or news article you read. I am not saying you can’t ever watch news if you like it, but when something horrific comes on or is posted online, please keep in mind that you have choices. You will not become more intelligent, safer, or be of help to anyone if you are glued to a screen showing or describing painful events that can stick to you like glue and shape your day or your whole outlook on life. So turn off the screen, center yourself with the tree root technique described below, brush off the energy as explained below, and go make a difference. We each have difference beliefs and gifts, and this is time to use your own special gifts according to your belief system. Send a donation to those affected, say a prayer, send healing energy, your good wishes, organize some event to get relief to those affected, and then spread your good ideas to those around you who are feeling afraid. This is a chance to make a positive difference instead of hiding and telling yourself there is no hope. That isn’t true and many, many people in this world want someone like you to help them make a difference! If you are making a positive future you won’t cower in fear transfixed to a screen and let life pass you by.
- Whether we realize it or not, each interaction we have with others involves an energy exchange. Either you are positively affected or negatively affected when you talk to someone or even enter a room where others have been. If you have ever come into a room where two people have been arguing you will recognize that concept. You feel the hostility and it doesn’t feel good at all. The goal is not to take home that hostility or the fear the person on the couch next to us feels when the news is intense, and a simple technique will help us from absorbing it or wearing it like a cloak. Take one hand, brush off the opposite arm from shoulder down to hand and “pull” any energy off the hand, releasing it to the universe or God if you prefer. Then do the same to the opposite side of your body with your other hand and release it. You can do this any time you want to get rid of something unpleasant or you feel dragged down from the day, you have seen something traumatic, or you just want to lighten your day. This keeps you from going through your life with old, negative energy around you and can make a big difference in how you feel. You wouldn’t want to go around with mud all over your clothes, so why go through life weighed down by energy that keeps you unhappy? Show this technique to your kids, your friends, and anyone else who could seems burdened by the world.
- Ground yourself whenever you feel spacey, overwhelmed, as if life is chaotic, or you feel as if you are drifting with lost focus. This is a simple technique and consists of simply visualizing or imagining strong roots growing from your feet into the ground. Dig your balls of your feet into the ground a bit and feel those roots, and see yourself connected by healthy, deep roots. Feel your connection and remind yourself that you are part of everything in the universe and that you are firmly held in place despite any storms that might come along. Share with with others as well since we can stand strong together and make a positive difference when we know we aren’t going to blown over with every breeze that comes along.
- Practice the “movie screen” technique when you aren’t sure what your role in a situation is or you are too close to a situation to be able to be objective. If we are inside the movie and we only see the horrible things someone is doing on on side of the set we might think all humans are evil, and of course we will be afraid. But if we can step back and see ourselves and that evil person as one small segment of the whole movie and one small part of the whole set we can see all the wonderful, giving, caring, and positive people who make up the rest of the show. If we have a problem we can’t solve we can step out of the frame and see the whole picture, and often it becomes clearer what the ethical or healthier choice is for us.
- Watch what you say to yourself. If you tell yourself it is the end of the world where do you go from there? You certainly won’t be looking for solutions or helping your neighbor. Some awful things happen in the world, but many wonderful things do as well, and our words and thoughts have the power to shape us and those around us. Think of all the people you see each day, and then add the people they all see each day, and watch how big the circle of your influence becomes. If you tell yourself you can’t make a difference you won’t, and if you waste time telling yourself how hopeless it all is you definitely won’t be inspiring yourself or anyone around you. So if you have to step back out of that movie set to see reality please do so since you are worth the time and effort it will take to be honest with yourself. Then enjoy the difference you will feel when you start telling yourself the truth. You have abilities, gifts, and when you add a positive intention to help others you will find yourself happier and healthier. This can take practice, so don’t give up!
Now I’m not saying no one should ever feel sad or grieve, and anger can be a huge impetus for positive change. I’m not saying that we should all go around with smiles plastered on our faces when awful things happen, either. I am saying to own your feelings, feel them when you need to feel them, to become aware of what the energy feels like around you and give yourself permission to turn off the set and click the window closed to take better care of yourself. Notice I said own your feelings and not everyone else’s, though. We can’t fix the world or anyone but ourselves, but we can do some simple things to keep ourselves healthy and make a difference in the world. If we can look back at the end of our lives and say we made our little corner of the world a better place to live and that we lived well, then I would say that is a pretty good life to have led. Think what we could do if everyone could say that! Just give the techniques I suggested a try and imagine how different the world could be if we all did this together! Consider for a moment how different the news would have been today if the people who did all those things we hate to hear about had taken a few minutes to turn off the noise, brush off their fear, get grounded, and go help someone. Now that would make a great news day!
Ruth Anne Mak