The world has been under an astonishing amount of stress as COVID and the global pandemic have undoubtedly changed the course of our lives. At times, I have had feelings of doubt and sadness as I have witnessed current events unfold. As a therapist, I have also witnessed a staggering amount of people struggle with negative emotions causing heightened levels of depression and anxiety.
I think if we become too focused on events in the past, and things that have occurred that we cannot go back and change, it can foster feelings of sadness and hopelessness. Although we are unable to change the past, one thing we can do is try to learn from the events that have caused so much harm. It has been difficult for many to reserve hope for our future, as many people continue to suffer with multiple losses.
When I have feelings of hopelessness, I try to explore and process what led to those feelings and acknowledge and validate my feelings rather than deny that they exist. I also think of gratitude and the good things that have happened and continue to happen daily.
Thinking of things that we are grateful for can help shift our mind out of a negative feedback loop and can provide space for other feelings to emerge. Once I have a gracious mindset it tends to improve my mood and overall feelings in the present moment and can fill my heart with hope for the future.
Gratitude can also enable other feelings such as peace and solitude the space to emerge and become more present in our lives. Once we gain control of our thoughts and feelings, we can feel empowered to create change in our own lives that foster peace.
Many of us are seeking peace amongst the chaos that has surrounded us since the pandemic began. To hold the space for peace to emerge, I think it essential we first figure out how to create a peaceful state of mind within ourselves. Once our mind it at peace, we can then experience a state of calm and solitude that can be healing, restorative and provide motivation and the energy to cultivate feelings of peace in other areas of our lives.
If our mind is at peace it can create opportunities to allow positive emotions such as happiness and joy to emerge that remind us of all the wonderful things that life has to offer. It also enables us to help others find their own inner peace so they can make room for positive experiences to occur.
By: Amber Sanner, MS, LMFT