Life in today's world is increasingly complex, and can at times seem overwhelming. We each have our own individual difficulties and struggles, and we are part of families and larger communities that face daunting challenges and serious problems. How can we deal with all that is going on and remain healthy, balanced people? Sometimes it all just seems like "TOO MUCH!"
Recently, I read a great article entitled, "
How to Avoid Being Psychologically Destroyed by Your Newsfeed
," by Ann Douglas. I was struck by that headline, because I realized that my internal reaction to the bombardment of horrible images and stories flooding my facebook newsfeed and internet news sites every day, is not unique to me. I am not alone.
One of Ann's pieces of advice in this article is to recognize that "there is a difference between being
." It's hard to turn away from the onslaught of bad news and sensationalized stories, but that is exactly what we need to do at times. The goal is not to stick our heads in the sand, but to avoid traumatizing and damaging ourselves in the interest of 'being informed.' This is very important advice when the negative news outpaces the positive so completely. That isn't reality either and we are brainwashing ourselves with negativity when we focus on the bad, and eliminate the good!
Another of her tips in the article is to "allow yourself to feel all your feelings." This is where it is handy to have some type of practice to aid in processing our feelings and releasing them in a healthy, productive manner that moves us through them - instead of keeping us stuck in them or paralyzed by them.
I like to think of the emotions as waves that come... flow over us and then go. Rather than resisting and trying to stop the waves, we are better served when we learn to surf those waves, and let them pass - with awareness, detached observation and self-compassion.
Self-Compassion is a key practice to help us cope with the pain and suffering that we encounter in the course of daily life. Kristin Neff is one of our great teachers on self-compassion and kindness. We can use her teachings to build self-compassion practice into our tool-kit for daily, ongoing use.