Perception is Reality
Never before in recent history have so many of us been contemplating existential questions and re-evaluating our lives. While some see this time in the world as an opportunity to create unique solutions or shift paths in a positive direction, others have struggled with wondering how to move forward with such anxiety about the future. And for many people, it is a mix of all of the above. No matter where you fall on the spectrum of perceiving the recent world events, there are ways to cope with the stress no matter what your reality.
We are told we are all being tested. Being asked to stay indoors, to wear masks, stay apart from friends and family, minimize socializing and limit travel are the surface level stressors that are compounded by wondering when, how and if it will all come to an end. If you have never experienced a significant about of stress, or if your coping mechanisms needed some fine tuning to begin with, you have your work cut out for you.
Lets take a collective deep breath. Life has always been uncertain, and now we are being reminded of that on a daily basis. Let us not focus on what (or whom) we cannot control, pick something in your lane as a response to the anxiety around ambiguity. Some have noted that limiting media consumption, choosing one thing to accomplish each day, and finding ways to check on others as manageable responses to fear of the unknown.
The last few months have triggered a sense of loss in everyone. Loss of people, a way of life, personal freedoms, and our plans are just a few examples. Can you find ways to uncover the gratitude you overlooked in the past for having access to such (seemingly small) joys? Maybe check off the things you still do have, and be appreciative as best as you can. Be angry, frustrated, and sad when you need to be, then refocus on the abundance you do have, especially if you are sitting in Montauk while you are reading this.
Keep in mind, resilience, like other psychological muscles, can be trained and developed. Its not who you are its what you do that matters most. The events in the world do not define us, are not going to last forever, are not personal and are not all encompassing even though some days feel like that is not the case. Lean on the activities that give you purpose; running, reading, surfing, cooking, connecting, and do them as often as you can.
Most helpful to know is you have a community around you. If you are an American or raised here a collective instinct is not as strong as the individualist one. Resist taking on things on your own when you have an instant support network with neighbors, friends, family, colleagues, people you run into around town, and those you see doing your activities. Even your little furry friends should you have some are there for you. Just ask, and remember take a deep breaths along the way.