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"May You Live In Interesting Times"
Once thought to be an ancient Chinese curse, "interesting times' pretty well describes our world these days.
The drums of war beat loudly again. The economy seems as soft as the Pillsbury Dough Boy. And the stock market is about as buoyant a pregnant pole-vaulter. It seems the only thing going up these days is the cost of gasoline. As I talk to people all over the continent and the rest of the world, I notice many are on edge.
So in a world where there is so much you can't control, this month's newsletter is about something you can. Specifically, I want to highlight out the link between your thoughts and your feelings and provide you with a few simple tools to better control how you feel, and thus how you act.
We are what
we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts.
With our thoughts, We make our world.
- The Buddha
These days, I defy anyone to read their morning paper, watch their quota of the nightly news, and look at the recent statements from your investment advisor, without experiencing at least some sense of dread. Why? As you read about all the troubles in the world, you have thoughts like: "There is going to be a war and many people are going to die." "With the economy the way it is I may lose my job." "With the markets the way they are, I may never be able to retire." "This is getting worse and worse."
Some of these thoughts may be so subtle that they are unconscious. But if you have thoughts like these constantly running through your brain, its no wonder you may find yourself feeling on edge. And if you feel anxious and fearful, how do you think you are going to behave? Typically, with trepidation and an elevated level of stress. Your fear will feed on itself, spread to everyone else around you, and soon you are the cause of a virtual epidemic.
Whatever you are thinking, consciously and unconsciously, directly effects your mood.
Its not my purpose to delve into the details of how this all works. (There are many books written on this area like Feeling Good, by David Burns MD - You can see it with the rest of my most requested books at BOOKS. ) Rather I would like to simply share a few strategies to keep you on an even keel as you navigate your life through these troubled waters.
Here are a few tips:
Manage the amount of news you take in. - Be informed, but don't endlessly watch the same depressing stuff.
Do a few things each day that make you feel good. - Physical exercise, play, a visit with friends, reading a good book, being of service to someone.
Proactively choose positive and productive areas to think about - i.e. You could revisit your goals and the important things you are working on. These are areas where you have more influence, and allow you to focus on a brighter future.
Spend a little time each morning counting your blessings, and being grateful for all the areas of your life that you treasure.
Quiet your thoughts through meditation, yoga or some other reflective practice. - All these activities bring you back into the present moment, calm your mind, and make you more aware of the thoughts that intrude. ( A good book for this is Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn. It's also on my book list.)
God grant me
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
- Reinhold Niebuhr
Yes we may be going through some troubling times, but you don't have to turn into an ostrich and ignore what's happening in the world. Keep involved. Act on your conscious. Make your world a better place. And simply be aware of the link between your thoughts and feelings, and do what you can to better manage them, so you continue to live your life productively and with minimum stress and maximum joy.
Also by way of perspective, keep in mind our parents and grandparents lived through several World Wars, the Great Depression, killer flu-epidemics, droughts, the Korean War and countless other challenges. And we, depending on your age, have already survived Presidential assassinations, the Cold War, Vietnam, inflation, oil-embargos, countless market downturns, Grenada, Panama, Lebanon, Mogadishu, the Gulf War, and the hype on Y2K.
We've made it through tough times before.
We are going to get through this one too.
We must be
the change we wish to see in the world.
Life Coach Steve Mitten B.ApSc, CPCC, MCC helps individuals, independents and professionals evolve and make profoundly satisfying and successful changes.
Visit Steve at www.acoach4u.com and sign up for a free coaching consultation.
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