To care deeply about the world is a wonderful and essential thing. But if a news story or a political crisis feels particularly unbearable, you might feel your emotional reactions affecting your resilience and dimming your light.
This is a great opportunity to observe your feelings without becoming entangled in them to the point where they become disabling. When you notice feelings of distress bubbling up you might find it helps to simply label them as ‘worry’ or ‘anxiety’. They are familiar feelings that you know well. Just acknowledge them without getting into a dialogue with them and let them slowly fade.
Distinguish between what you can and can’t change. Resisting what already is will amplify your sense of discomfort, while acceptance will help you to let go and come into the present moment, where you will find peace. Take a break from the world and spend some time doing things you enjoy to take you away from your busy mind. The peace you generate will benefit the people around you and the wider world. When you have rejuvenated yourself you can then start to work practically for the better world that we all want.
Focusing on your breathing takes you back into presence, but I have recently found out that concentrating on the out-breath is particularly calming. Try making that breath a little longer.
Currently reading: Mindfulness for Worriers by Padraig O’Morain