How to Manage Your Mind in Tumultuous Times

As I was sitting here writing this letter to you, my mind was all over the place.

“When is this virus stuff gonna end?
“What about the people in nursing homes? Are they being cared for?”
“It’s so hard to focus on writing this book.”
“Maybe I’ll jump online and read the latest information.”
“Actually, maybe not. People are posting ridiculous stuff that just makes me feel worse.”
“Why aren’t more people staying at home?”
“Why are some politicians encouraging people to go out and get together?”

AAAAAAAHHHHHHH! This is crazy-making!

I closed my eyes and took three deep breaths, inhaling for a count of four, holding for three, and exhaling for four. I could immediately feel the difference. (Pause right now and try it).

I don’t know about you, but I feel like the energy is buzzing in my body and not in a good way. I know exactly what I’m doing. I’m trying to think my emotions instead of feel them.

That’s what we do, right? We try to figure out or fix our feelings by gathering more information, searching for answers to questions we think will help us be more in control, and looking for someone or something to blame.

Then I remember, Feelings are to be felt, not figured out or fixed. (click to tweet).

Trying to fix your emotions, assign meaning to them, or intellectualize them away just makes the situation worse. You create clutter in your heart and soul because you essentially tell that part of you who wants to express herself to shut up.

And while she may quiet down momentarily, it won’t last. Your feelings wait for you. Sidestep them and they’ll show up again, whether that’s tomorrow or a year down the track – because they weren’t expressed or tended to.

Feel it in the moment and it won’t need to erupt all the time or, as my friend Brett says, “come out sideways,” causing you to overreact to related and unrelated situations.

When you bump up against uncomfortable feelings, do your best to hang out with them for a while. Write them down. Acknowledge them. (“I feel you, fear.” “I see you, anxiety.”) Take those deep breaths.

Resist the urge to jump online and read more.

While you may fear you’ll be faced with a painful experience on loop, more often than not, you’ll be surprised how quickly your discomfort quiets down.

I often go back to this quote by Byron Katie: “I don’t let go of my thoughts and feelings. I welcome them in and they let go of me.

While feelings are not facts, they do hold a lot of wisdom that can help us navigate the twists and turns that come our way. When welcomed in, they can be the compass by which we travel, directing us toward connection and peace.

BONUS: Check out this exercise from my membership community, Clutter Clear Your Life, to help you get centered:

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