How to Manage in Challenging Times

“Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own unguarded thoughts.” — Buddha

How do we learn to prioritize our mental health and protect our thought pattern as we maneuver through a world that is riddled with unpredictability? The looming fear of the coronavirus, the election, job security and the well-being of our children and elders is enough to keep us up at night. In this period, it is essential that we tap into our personal reserve and persevere.

There is nothing normal about what we are experiencing now, no point of reference and no guarantee it will change anytime soon. Yet the responsibilities and requirements of family and work remain. As parents we must be role models and instrumental in assisting our children to view their future with optimism. At our jobs, we are still expected to perform and contribute in a meaningful way. The world is unsteady and yet we must continue on as if it were not.

Last night my son commented on my ability to remain calm, even in the most challenging of situations. He is correct. I am not an alarmist. I absorb the situation, choosing always to seek resolution before despair. I often tell my children that there is always a way, no matter what. If that way is acceptance, forward movement or staying still, despair is never the answer. If you want to be content, as Buddha so wisely suggested our thoughts are our own worst enemy, and we must monitor them with vigor.

I am not suggesting to be in denial of challenges but to recognize them and find a path that brings serenity. This is not an easy task but essential if one is to face each day with warmth and optimism. Look for the small things in your day that are good and happy. Appreciate them in a way that you never have before.

The sunset, your coffee on a chilly morning, your dog that greets you without judgment every morning. The person who continuously makes you smile. Compliment people, make them feel good and spend a little time improving the lives of others around you.

While this time in life is far from perfect, there is still happiness to be found, lists to be made and dreams to work toward. Appreciate the people in your life and always remain grateful for the aspect of your life that you can control: your mind.

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