It’s hard to recall a more uncertain time in recent history. Many businesses are on the brink of collapse. Previously solid careers and jobs look precarious. Even going to the supermarket has become fraught with risk and anxiety. In short social and economic norms have been seriously disrupted.
Whilst some people embrace change, chaos and uncertainty, most find it unsettling, preferring security in the familiarity of routine. Setting goals and achieving goals whether small or world-conquering gives meaning to life. It’s hard to set goals when the ground those goal posts are sitting on is constantly shifting.
There is a Buddhist saying, “Life is suffering”. An acknowledgement that life involves pain. Loved ones will die, you will experience some degree of pain and injury, you will feel lonely, some people will be hostile to you. This is part of life. Much as on the flip side you will meet people you love, you will experience happiness and a sense of belonging and some people will love and care for you. Both of these sides are fleeting though. Subject to change. The art of a content life is striving to not cling to either the positive or negative in life – just accept they will come and go.
Time to Get Positive
In the rollercoaster up and down of life it’s easy to find yourself currently in the negative downward curve of uncertainty and unhappiness. Life and nature move’s in cycles so be mindful that things will get better.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the slew of bad news at the moment. Humans have an inherent negative bias. It appears to be genetic. It’s not an evolutionary advantage to be a happy clappy hunter gatherer – wafting carelessly into a hungry predator’s jaws isn’t going to ensure succession of the gene pool.
Most have on the whole inherited a negative bias that has to be worked on. It’s easy to focus on the negative but there are nearly always positives to take from life; the smile from a stranger, food on your plate, a roof above your head.
Focus on things you can control; your day to day actions. And try to ignore those things you can’t control – like how much the disease is spreading, the state of the economy. If necessary, stop watching and reading the news. Set small goals that give you a sense of achievement; cutting the grass, going for a nice walk, phoning up an old friend.
I set my own goal during the lockdown to write a guide on anxiety looking at how anxiety manifests and more importantly how to deal with it, developing effective coping mechanisms and creating anxiety reducing environments. If you’d like to read it, please download it here:
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