Finding Inner Strength
During the most difficult times in my life, I have always found the greatest inspiration from the people who believed in me, that I would be fine and that everything would work out in the end – although the “how” was unknown. They were always right. Nothing remained the same. Everything did work out. It always does – one way or another.
In our darkest moments, folks who imagine they couldn’t cope with whatever we’re facing project their beliefs onto us, which isn’t helpful. We need strong, wise and patient people around us in difficult times, reminding us that we are strong and that there are always answers that have yet to be revealed to us.
Observing the Unimaginable
During the last couple of months we have been exposed to shocking details and pictures of fires razing entire neighborhoods, floods, hurricanes, murders and terrorism. At such times it is far too easy to slip into second-hand stress and trauma by imagining ourselves experiencing those dreadful situations and believing that it is impossible to recover.
There are three key things to remember:
- Firstly, be an observer and not an imaginary participant in these events. Never imagine yourself actually experiencing someone else’s stress and trauma. Your brain doesn’t know the difference between what is imagined and what is real. If you’re sitting on the sofa, drinking a glass of wine and watching the News on television and you feel afraid while watching a scary scenario, your stress response will be activated to allow you to instantly fight or flee to safety. When you are not in actual danger the physiological changes can be harmful to your health. So, distance yourself from second hand stress and trauma, remember you are safe and take some gentle breaths to relax your body.
- Secondly, tell yourself that in six months or a year the situation is likely to have significantly changed for the better and everyone will be coping well. This will take you out of the hopeless helpless mind-frame that can negatively impact you.
- Thirdly, find one way that you can make a positive difference; maybe through prayer, donating money, giving time to help a charity that is working to ease the problem, or by raising awareness among your friends. Taking action shifts and uplifts your mental and emotional state.
Ultimately, challenges make us stronger and wiser
We go as low as we can go – the dark night of the soul – and rise up lighter, more compassionate and resilient.