Simple Practices for Managing Difficult Times

Mindfulness

People ask me everyday,  “Michelle, please give me one thing that I can do to deal with all the stress I’m feeling in the difficult times happening all around me.” My answer is clear and simple really, “Make sure you have a practice that connects you inside to your heart and body. Otherwise you will be at the mercy of this fast-paced, always changing environment.”

Right now we are in an incredibly interesting time. We are experiencing a lot of change, whether we welcome it or not. We are experiencing separation, anger, and divisiveness. We are experiencing this on a worldly level and I believe even on a personal scale. I hear from so many people every day who are struggling and hurting. I hear from many people who are scared and feeling helpless. I hear from a lot of people who are feeling angry, unseen, and unheard all across our globe.

My sweet friends I hear you and I honor you. All feelings, even the difficult or uncomfortable ones are valid and important. All experiences are here to teach us something. What is important to remember is that life is not stagnant. Life is filled with peaks and valleys, the highs and the lows. We, as humans, will always experience difficulty on our way to our happy destination. We can never truly rid ourselves of the difficulties or the negative, but we can choose how we maneuver the times. We can be the greatest surfers in these waves of life. When we pass the tests of difficulty with grace, we build up our stamina and capability to process future challenges with a greater sense of ease.

If you are experiencing uncertainty and unease I have my simple practices, my favorite “pick-me ups” to share here in helping you through, I hope they serve you as well as they have me. Remember that no feelings are permanent, this too shall pass, and there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. For right now focus on the light shining on your first step.

1. Meditate. I always recommend this one in my blogs, and I hope you take this as a sign of how important I really feel a meditation practice is for you. Since I adopted a daily meditation practice, I find that I am able to handle life’s curveballs much easier. I am not saying I don’t have bad days, or difficult situations don’t come my way, I simply find that I have a deep sense of trust and peace that helps me process what life puts in my path. It’s easy to meditate when life is going great. It can feel more difficult to get to your meditation cushion when challenge arises. Make an effort to sit with yourself daily. Connect with yourself. When you are aligned with you, you can take on anything. You are unshakeable.
2. Move. There are times when I have been in slumps or hard situations and my first instinct was to curl up and hide from the world. While that might be comforting in the moment, the stagnation of our bodies makes us feel “frozen in time” to the situation at hand. Incorporating gentle physical activity can be a wonderful way to release stress and tension, and it will get your thoughts flowing in the direction of the solutions you seek.
3. Allow yourself to feel. Many times when uncomfortable feelings arise, we try to push it away to avoid the difficulty and pain. While it can be a true challenge to allow ourselves to feel the sadness, anger, and frustration, it is important to actually allow these feelings to process. A great way to let the feelings out is journaling. Allow yourself to sit and put pen to paper. Let the words come, try not to judge what comes out, and let the inner workings of your soul come through. When you feel your feelings fully you create space for them to pass through you and you become free.
4. Be grateful. In stressful times we can lose sight of this great truth, there is always something to be grateful for. Counting our blessings, especially in strife, is an excellent way to lift your spirits and create space for the good things that are undoubtedly coming. Take time daily to write down at least one thing that you are grateful for. It could be as simple as the air you breathe or a delicious meal. Find joy in the simple things. Be grateful for what you do have, even when you are feeling like there is so much that you don’t have.
5. Be helpful. One of the greatest ways to get yourself out of a slump is to be of service to someone or something. We feel better when we help others; this is a simple, yet powerful truth. I often think of this quote by Aung San Suu Kyi in difficult times, “When you’re feeling helpless, help someone.”  Find ways to be of service that are aligned with your passions and interests. Where would you like to make an impact in this world? Take the first step to and you not only will be making a difference you will feel empowered.

I deeply hope these practices, my tools help you. Remember you are strong, valuable, and loved. I would love to know in the comments what you rely on in difficult times.

xoxo, Michelle

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The Practice by Barb Schmidt

Barb offers readers life-changing spiritual guidance in an easy to follow format, and what makes this book so magnificent is that she has infused her own stories and struggles to help readers connect and learn.
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