3 Ways to Face Today’s Unprecedented and Complex Challenges
It’s Really Challenging Out There!
As a nation and a world community, we face unprecedented and complex challenges. The list of challenges seems endless but here in the US we can list six challenges which are having immense impact: COVID Pandemic, Socioeconomic Inequality, Global Warming, Political Turmoil, Damaged Supply Chain and Deteriorating infrastructure. This list could go on and on.
Learning how to pace and manage ourselves, day by day, in the face of the chronic anxiety caused by these profound challenges is a responsibility we all have. We all know this at some level. But to act well, that is, to take right action in high anxiety-producing situations demands a level of self-awareness and self-management that is not commonly practiced, especially these days.
Every action we have is a composite of what we think and how we feel at the moment. When we think a situation or topic of conversation is safe, we are more open and engaged. When we feel threatened by a situation or topic of conversation, even in subtle ways, we instinctively shift into classic defensive modes. We fight, flee or freeze in order to protect ourselves. And the stronger our feelings of being threatened, the more likely our emotional self will overwhelm and eclipse our thinking self.
The key is to be more of a “witnessing awareness” of our own thinking and feeling states of mind and to take actions (or not) to make a comment (or not) with more of our thoughtful self rather than our emotional self.
How can I build up my “witnessing awareness”?
- Be Present — Spend as much time as possible being present to unfolding moments of your life. Learn to watch your own mental processes. Minimize time spent on past regrets and future concerns and devote more and more of your thinking and feeling with attention on the present. Relax. Focus. Be in the moment.
- Take “It” On — Peace of mind is not achieved by working to avoid conflict in life, but rather by learning to deal with life’s conflicts with calm and composure. Peace of mind starts with fully engaging the situations we face daily, making the best of those situations, and then accepting and being present to our current reality.
- Live Your Life in the Now — Appreciate each day as a miraculous gift. Recognize that whatever happens, the moments of each and every day only come once in our life. Learn to welcome those moments and recognize each of them as the precious gift of life itself. We do well to embrace the days of our life without longing for something else to be true. Accept each day; learn from it; grow from it. Move forward.
For more insight on the causes and adaptive behaviors linked to chronic anxiety, download our (PDF) resource.