In my last blog, “How to Avoid Going From Bad To Worse in a Crisis” I called out four actions that can make your current crisis even more dire than it already is. Now here are some ideas to that can make your situation more manageable:
Get grounded before you make any decisions. Spend some time getting back in your body. Then solicit input and take some time thinking about all of the implications of the decisions that you are about to make. Unless an immediate, life threatening situation exists, there is usually time to sleep on a choice or get the perspective that a bit of distance or a second opinion can bring. For more ideas on how to get grounded, check out Six Ways To Find Firm Ground in a Crisis.
Reach out and let others in. Find a way to connect with those people who will support you in the ways that you need during these tough times. And while you may have your own “first responders”–those people who are tuned into you and your life, ready and willing to help—spend some time thinking about what other skills, expertise, or counsel will be most helpful to you given the circumstances you are facing. For example, a client going through a divorce found that she needed more than just a lawyer and her usual circle of friends. Adelle found that a community of women who had survived and even thrived post divorce was also critical to her recovery. Once you’ve strategized about who you need, find a way to bring that into your life. How To Build A Community of Support that Rocks suggests ten ways to do so.
Manage the mind monkeys. I recently read What Good is Meditation in a Plane Crash? about Allan Lokos, founder of the Community Meditation Center in NYC. Allan shared his experience surviving and healing from severe burns sustained in a plane crash. He credited his years of meditating with his ability to manage, without pain killers, the excruciating pain that burn victims experience. With the discipline he learned through meditation, Allan was able to release his focus from the pain rather than letting it overwhelm him.
And, while most of us do not have that level of experience to draw on during a crisis, there are some effective ways, in addition to meditation, to prevent negative thoughts from taking over the majority of our waking moments.
My favorite one is to schedule the mind monkeys, the buddhist term for the chattering of our thoughts. This entails deciding exactly how much time you are going to spend each day with those thoughts—especially the ones that seem unending, threatening or critical when you are facing difficult times. For some of my clients, they chose to entertain those ideas only during the hour that they are exercising. For one woman who had only infrequent communication from her family living in a war torn country, it was the ten minutes before her prayer time each day. Once you’ve decided what your schedule is, whenever the thoughts come up outside of that time, remind yourself that those thoughts have an appointment with you but it’s not right now! Each time you push them away, you gain more control.
The next blog, Going From Bad to Better, Part 2, will cover a few more ways to manage the mind monkeys as well as practical ways to enjoy more positive thoughts and emotions—even in a crisis!
If you have any questions or comments, please send them my way. I look forward to hearing from you.