Sometimes the most effective thing we can do is to manage our own mood and our sense of Hope so that we can do the best we can in our lives. I want to approach the world with love in my heart. I want to be present with each person I meet. I want to be able to sleep at night and to take good care of myself. And to do that I need to be able to shift my mood into something relatively close to a sense of well-being.
How do you do this when there are so many triggers that cause us to feel helpless? Here’s what I do:
- I sing in the shower. Or I chant some of my favorite chants from yoga class. Sometimes I make up a tune to encouraging words. Goofy, I know. But everybody’s voice sounds great in the shower and I enjoy the sounds and vibrations. I create my own sound bath. Inevitably, I feel better.
- I talk to people who have a slightly different perspective than mine but that don’t disagree with me. I know that may be shallow, but I really enjoy getting a broader view, but without the criticism or confrontation that sometimes comes with talking to someone whose political opinions are vastly different than mine. There is definitely a time for listening to those who think very differently than I do, but I can’t do that until I’m calmly centered and peaceful inside of myself.
- Whenever I can, I get outside to exercise in the sunshine. I walk. I ride my bike. I enjoy watching people in Washington Park on their skateboards, roller skates, and unnamed contraptions zipping around the track joyously. I feel lucky to live here.
- I focus on improving the relationships in my, now very small, circle. I spend time with my granddaughter who gives me joy! I avoid worrying about her future whenever I can.
- I remind myself to stay in the present moment. My worrying will not change what’s going to happen tomorrow. My middle of the night ruminating about the future of our country will not fix it.
- The present moment is the only place I can heal and make a difference. When there’s a task in front of me that is truly my “business” I will attend to it and do my best to do it with love and attention.
Now, I don’t want to minimize what you may be feeling right now. Sometimes our pain cannot be soothed completely by singing in the shower. If you need someone to talk to or more sophisticated emotional regulation skills, call for help.
I am taking on a few new clients each week. Call me and we’ll see if I can help you get to a place where you actually want to sing for joy!
Lisa Yaeger, LPC