May I have the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
— Serenity Prayer
Serenity means a state of being peaceful, calm and untroubled.
We have been dealing with COVID19 since the beginning of this year as well as a slew of other natural and man made disasters. Every part of the world is grappling with COVID19, the financial and economic repercussions of the lockdown and an uncertain future. It is no wonder then that a state of "serenity" may seem quite an alien concept right now to most of us.
In my last post "The storm is not over yet…(but it is up to you how you show up in the COVID19 crisis)", I had introduced the concept of creating an empowering health plan. This is a way of moving from feeling helpless and powerless in a world where many things are out of control to a place that is both empowering and constructive.
Infact as you would have realised by now, there are many things in the world that are beyond your control, especially now. If you try and control or change your external circumstances you will most likely fail miserably. But there are other things that you can and should control in a way that serves you. These are your thoughts, feelings, action and behaviour.
Unfortunately, many of us spend the majority of our lives trying to control our external circumstances and other people. These can be our neighbours, family members and friends, the government and even the universe. What they fail to realise that it is a colossal waste of energy and time in the best of times. At a time like this where there are so many things that are out of control, it can really be an extremely challenging and frustrating time for such people.
For every minute you are angry, you lose 60 minutes of happiness
Those of us who have learned how to focus on those things that are in our control- our thoughts, actions and feelings are having a much easier time.
I find that I am less frustrated, impatient and more peaceful when I focus on my locus of control no matter how things are in the world. I find that I feel more empowered and less anxious. I am a part of the solution and I am able to tap into my creative side by creating blog posts, podcasts and being present for my clients and my family.
I want to make sure that you understand that this starts with noticing how you are feeling right now.
Is this situation making you feel helpless, anxious or angry?
Realising that and accepting how you are feeling and reacting to this crisis is the starting point. However, the key is NOT to get stuck there. You do realise it intellectually of course, but if you do not take some time to deal with it and be with your emotions without getting swept away you cannot really hope to process them and move forward. You need to take out time to honour how you are feeling and to come to terms with it.
Make an effort, not an excuse
One of the most disempowering habits that one can have is making excuses for our inability to take action. Our inability to focus on what is within our control is what makes us become helpless and stuck especially in the face of challenges. Using the virus and the economy or any other external circumstance as a reason not to do something does not serve any of us.
Your mind is a tool
Your mind is a tool that you can use in a way that serves you. Research shows that we can rewire our brain and use our brain's neuroplasticity to form new neural pathways that keep it flexible and make it possible to create new habits throughout our life. You have a lot more power than you think over how you use your brain. This means that your mind is in your control, not the other way around.
Just knowing that your mind is a tool that you can use in any way that you want can be liberating. You have trained it in a certain way (intentionally or unintentionally) such that your thoughts have created your experiences in this world and shaped your life. The good news is, if you quiet the chatter of your mind, you will be able to CHOOSE your thoughts and create new experiences. Think about that for a moment.
While you cannot change your past thought or prevent future thoughts from cropping up, you have the power to CHOOSE your current thought. Your locus of control and your power is thus over your own actions, thoughts and behaviour.
Mastering others is strength, mastering yourself is true power
- Lao Tzu
Given this background, I offer you 5 key pieces that you can use to create and customise your very own HEALTH PLAN that can support you during these times of crisis as well as in the future.
Creating an empowering health plan
- Nourish your body and support your immune system - you can do this by having nourishing, wholesome foods instead of refined, processed and nutrient poor foods.
- Mindful eating - paying attention to HOW you eat is at least as important as what you are eating. At the end of the day, it is not just about eating healthy foods, it is also about digesting, absorbing and transporting all the nutrients to each and every cell in your body. I have written about this topic in an earlier post in details, you can read it HERE.
- Vision board- you can set up a VISION BOARD that will help you to visualise a future for yourself whether it is 1, 2 or even 5 years down the line. In a world that is chaotic and uncertain, a VISION BOARD gives you permission to dream and plan your future. You will need to plan and curate photos and printouts, words and quotes for your vision board. Remember to keep it meaningful and simple and review it from time to time. You can make have separate boards for your personal and professional life. (watch the video where I share more details about this)
- Sleep and rest- Sleep and rest need to be a cornerstone for any kind of health plan. You simply cannot underestimate the importance of sleep and rest when it comes to healing and recovery. Now, more than ever before we need to be very careful about getting adequate rest and sleep so that we can support our body in terms of maintaining optimal health.
Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart
- Journal- Keeping a journal is an extremely powerful tool. Amongst other things keeping a journal can help bring clarity, increase focus and cultivate gratitude and appreciation. A journal can be used in many different ways and can be of great support while creating and sustaining a health plan. You can keep a journal in many different forms- food and mood journal, gratitude journal and keeping track of your goals and achievements.
You can also use some of the prompts given below to get you started-
What feeling would you like to invite into your day?
What are you letting go today?
What touched you today?
What makes you feel connected to your heart, spirit, sense of self?
What I appreciate most in my life right now is…
I am at my best when I am…
What brings me alive is…
What I really need right now is…
What gets in the way of me being present is…
If I had no fear, I would…
What I find is that many people struggle to let go of a need to control what is simply beyond their control and this makes them miserable. Letting go does not mean losing the knowledge we have gained from the past. The knowledge of the past stays with us. You simply choose to let go of what does not serve you so that you can focus on what really matters.
I have shared with you a guided meditation in my latest podcast episode "Empowering yourself by letting go and focusing on what is in your control"