After the recent Aurora, Colorado shootings, there’s no doubt that our world seems out of control.
Mass killings, natural disasters, war, political upheavals and closer to home—divorce rates, illness and financial devastation shake up even the most balanced individual.
The constant headlines of murders and job loss, whales beaching themselves, global warming and other natural disasters intensifies our feeling of being out of control. Predictions of more, along with masses of people forecasting doom and gloom, creates additional fear and anxiety. What can we do? Well what not to do would be filling your days sharing the gory details of “did you hear what happened?” and spreading fears of “what’s next?” While tempting, this activity actually contributes to the overall negativity of our world.
Psychology Today recently reported that your brain takes 90 seconds to fully process a traumatic event that you “hear” about from beginning to end.
That’s 90 seconds to experience something and think about it to complete conclusion. Any thinking beyond that time, ingrains the trauma and creates a stress response in the body.
So what to do? Send the help that you’re able to send when disaster strikes and then turn off your television.
Those bright eyed and bushy tailed reporters love to spin every detail into a new angle of fear and sensationalism. Frankly, our nervous systems are already overloaded with life. We don’t need to add to our adrenal stress with more horror by watching something over and over again that feeds the stress response.
If we feed those brain receptor sites with too much fear and drama, they naturally look for more stimulus watching multiple channels of news reporting the same disaster and becoming addicted to the gory details of online news. This becomes a vicious cycle as our natural peaceful response patterns fall by the way side. When we spin out in fear and sadness, we do zip to effectively help our planet and the people we love in trauma.
Most of us have realized that attempting to control the world around us is futile; all we can really control is our inner world.
As I opened the paper this morning, I saw the Aurora, Colorado theater story and felt a cold shimmer of fear run through my body. If things are as dire as they seem, do I really want to waste this life around me that in this moment that is peaceful by worrying of things to come?
I looked outside and the sky was blue. In my small world, things were tranquil. I closed my eyes and prayed for the victims and for the families, I prayed for solace and peace to fall upon their shoulders and I prayed that others, like the murderous perpetrator, are healed before taking similar action. I prayed that those in pain find relief, and that those of us lucky enough to be safe and secure realize our many blessings.
So how do we control our inner world when the outside world appears to be nuts?
We can meditate, do yoga, eat healthy, practice kindness and remember compassion. Loving the ones we love with more intensity, looking forward to a brighter future, visualizing peace and practicing what we wish for in the small microcosm of our own world—this can make a difference.
As Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
It may sound naïve, but after we do what we can to help—appreciating the life that we have and walking in balance with love in our hearts—is really all that we can do.
Turn off your television, meditate and pray, love your life and those around you, teach future generations to love and respect not only the planet, but also the people around them, and most importantly, visualize our world as healed and perfect. Gratitude and love are truly the most powerful forces on the planet.
Editor: Brianna Bemel
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Post photo from freedigitalphotos.net by Dan