Cultivating Hope: Tips for Keeping Your Head Up During Heavy Times
A love letter from our Founder + CEO,
Hope begins in the dark. - Ann Lamott
Hey there Vive Fam. There's a lot going on in the world right now; our way of doing things is evolving and transforming rapidly, and the current news cycle is filled with fear and sensationalism.
It's normal, and it's okay, to be feelin' it.
You aren't alone.
Today, I'm here to share with you a few tools and strategies for engaging with the news in a healthier and more productive way. These practices can also be used for expanding our news engagement in ways that can support us to cultivate hope, develop resilience and focus on solutions.
Before you keep reading, take a pause with me. How are you feeling right now in this moment? Where do you feel those emotions in your body? When you've gotten clear, I want you to close your eyes and take three, deep belly breaths. Count to four on the inhale - hold for two counts at the top - and count to four on the exhale.How are you feeling now? You're welcome to keep going until you're ready. Remember, the breath is a powerful tool to help you move energy through your body! Come back to it any time.
Getting Started: A Practice in Boundaries
- Everyone's capacity is different. Before jumping into conversation about a "hot topic," ask both yourself and the others around you if it's okay to discuss. Honor the answer.
- Staying informed is an act of courageous responsibility. Honor your capacity for digesting information. Remember, there are 3 zones: your comfort zone, challenge zone and panic zone. Challenge yourself, but don't punish yourself.
- Don't forget your body. It will give you cues when you're approaching your boundary limits. For me, I notice a tightness in my stomach and an inability to sit still. When that happens, I pause, b r e a t h e, and move --whether that be stretching, walking, dancing or simply shaking it out.
- Binging = burnout. The news will be there whether you're reading it or not -- you can take breaks. Be kind to your nervous system.
- As much as you feel safe to, let the feelings come up. What we resist, persists. Let them move through you. You are safe to feel. Keep reading for more tools on how to manage these experiences!
No matter how it looks, the way you respond to the news isokay. We live in a society that has a hard time making room for tough emotions, but remember: your emotions don't need to be fixed. Your emotions are real and valid. We just want to have tools and resources that allow us to manage those feelings and give us space to be a part of positive change.
Optimism + Hope
Martin Seligman's twenty years of research on optimism started when he found that an optimistic explanatory style worked against helplessness. He found that often the difference between people who give up in the face of adversity and people who persevere is. Seligman found that an optimistic explanatory style is not an inherent trait, but rather a trainable skill.
Now, this isn't about creating false positivity.Slapping optimism onto a situation that feels overwhelming is a quick way to invalidate our emotional experience. Let's not do that.
This is where hope comes in. So what's the difference?
Oftentimes, optimism is connected directly to an outcome.
Hope, on the other hand, is notabout an outcome.
Hope is a soul-centered c h o i c e.
Hope can live within things that are challenging and heartbreaking and unnerving.
For me, right now in this moment, hope looks like a mantra: "I trust that everything in life is unfolding for the highest good" and lots of deep breaths.
From Burdens to Gifts: Understanding our Emotions
Let's talk about some of feelings we might have when we're enmeshed with the news and some of the giftsthose feelings can bring, even when they're big, challenging or unpleasant. It's not a silver lining exactly, but if we take it upon ourselves to reframeour experience, it can change everything.
For example, when we experience anger, it points to a passion for justice.
When we experience fear,it creates opportunity for courage.
When we experience grief, it really is an expression of our capacity to love.
When we don't know what to do, it makes space for new ideas and solutions.
Again, this is not to cover up the anger or the fear we might be experiencing, but reframing. Remember, emotions are simply information we gather from the way we interact with the world. These feelings are telling you something important about who you are, what's important and what you value.
RESOURCES + TOOLS TO HELP YOU THROUGH
Practice #1: Balance Process
- Naturally, our brains have a negative bias - it's a survival instinct. This is why there is more bad news than good news. Get your news consumption back into balance by offsetting the negative with some news that leaves you feeling empowered. Here's a few resources to get you started:
Yes! Magazine - "solutions journalism"
(if you need to read something positive about COVID-19, go here 👆)
- Upworthy - "stories worth sharing"
- Positive.News - "good journalism about good things"
- Huffington Post: Good News Network
- Yes! Magazine - "solutions journalism"
Practice #2: Get the Whole Story Process
- Remember to honor your boundaries with this process. Challenge yourself, but don't punish!
- Look for stories that are outside the mainstream to balance your resources.
- You don't have to go it alone! Find a friend to do this work with to keep overwhelm at bay.
In Summary: Take Care of You
I hope this information has been a supportive resource for you. If you want more information on anything I've covered above, please reach out. We are here for you.Everything is unfolding the way that it's meant to. The best thing we can do right now is take care of ourselves and take care of each other. Please encourage each other to be well!
If you need someone to talk to or would like some encouragement, I'm your girl. We are stronger together and we connect by sharing. This is what community is all about. ♥️
LOVE YOU VIVE FAM!
- Brittany Anderson