At some point in your life, you’ve no doubt had to deal with a situation that was out of your control. This pandemic has certainly been one of those. So many things we had planned or were working on have been halted without notice. Grief is a shared reality among us all to some degree. This capacity of event has the capacity to negatively impact our health and mental outlook on life. It is important during this time for us to be honest about where we are in our feelings and commit to being as healthy as possible. Learning how to cope with events out of your control will help keep you in a positive frame of mind and alleviate your stress.
Consider the Serenity Prayer, written by Reinhold Niebuhr:
God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
The words of this prayer exemplify the solution to a problem that plagues all of us. Once you’ve come to terms with the fact that you can control only your own actions (and reactions), you can begin to find peace of mind.
What Can You Control?
Worrying about the people or events in your life that you can’t control can cause all kinds of stress-related health problems, such as angina, high blood pressure, and sleeping difficulties. If you need to feel more in control of your life, focus on those things that you can physically change. There are practices that you can employ now to aid you in staying balanced and getting what you need to thrive no matter the circumstance.
Choose a Solid Circle or Community
Who you decide to accept as your friends and spend your time with is something you can definitely control. It may not be easy to meet new friends, but the opportunities are plentiful if you look for them. Being around negative people can drag your attitude down, since you adopt the mood of people around you. This also includes social media. If the content you are consuming isn’t feeding your soul, hide it. Delete it. Hit the block button. Do what is necessary to protect your spirit and what you allow access to it. If you have people in your life who aren’t encouraging you to fulfill your potential, find other people to surround yourself with. Having the support of people who believe in you will propel you toward reaching your lifelong goals. It’s actually something we all need and often, we call it community.
Live One Day at a Time
When you intentionally consider each day a gift, your struggles don’t seem as dire. We may not have the ideal circumstances or even the answers of how to create them just yet. We do have life though. And with life, there is always an opportunity. Being still and practicing being present is a gift. Putting down the agendas and pressure for productivity can be life saving. Practice being with yourself and listening to your body and spirit. Tend to your own needs. Revel in the ability to do life differently than we’ve ever done it before. Make space for yourself. Live one day at a time. And as you do, find peace and gratefulness for all that is coming into being. When you purposely feel gratitude for the good moments within each day, you can genuinely start to accept your struggles as a path to a new beginning.
One of the most stressful situations is coping with financial difficulties. Loss of a job often means having to give up things you’ve worked hard to acquire. If you’re having a difficult time accepting that you have to cut expenses and give up the comfortable things in life, even temporarily, it helps to remember that it could be worse. It also reminds us of how important it is to have our eggs in more than one basket. One basket that we can continually fill is appreciation. Be appreciative for having your home and your health because there are many people in the world who have neither. Be appreciative of the people who love you and support you. Be grateful for waking up and another opportunity to make meaning out of this thing we call life. Once you know you can be happy with less, you can focus again on achieving your goals. By accepting that you can’t change some things, you’ll become more powerful in changing the things that you do have control over. You’ll free yourself from the negative thoughts and emotions that can stifle you into sad complacence.
Use these tips to help you cope with things out of your control, and you’ll find peace, joy, and the passion to persevere through all challenges. We will get through this together!