Friday, December 31, 2010
By Steve Beaman
2011 looks to be a interesting year on all of the paths which will put even more stress on the Emotional Path. The Financial Markets, the Political World, and all the others will create a need in America to have strong emotional foundations.! As we all know, challenges in life come on us all the time. It was Robert Schuller who made the famous statement "Tough times don't last, tough people do", and I think 2011 could present one of those times. When our nation faces economic trouble, coupled with political trouble, it places additional emotional pressures on us and requires our emotional path to carry all the more load.
The pressures applied on us from external influences can affect us greatly. Joblessness, worry about retirement funding, social unrest and change all can create stress in us that is undeniable. And stress is undeniably a bad thing!
So, what can we do about this? How can we mitigate the affect of the outside world and its influences on ourselves, on our marriages, and on our children, our friends, and all the people we care about, but most importantly, ourselves? Well, the first thing that's necessary is to take stock of what we have, and learn to focus on that instead of focusing on what we don't have. Look, it sounds trite, but the fact is our physical NEEDS consist of housing, food, clothing, and basic medical care. All else is fun yes, and can even make life easier, but other things are wants, not needs. So if we're able to reset our thinking and be thankful for having shelter, food, clothing, and basic medical care, we can reset our emotional path to have a better perspective on the situation at hand.
Second, we need to work to realign our emotional path to focus on internal versus external sources of stress. In other words, what you can control versus what you can't control. There's an old saying "if I can't control it, I don't worry about it", and that's pretty good advice. Lots and lots of things happen, but can you really change things that happen in Washington, on Wall Street, or in Europe? No! The fact is these occurrences make us upset because we philosophically see issues with one side or another, and we fear for our childrens future because of the policy beliefs of one side or another. But we really can't do anything about it, can we? So, if we reorient our focus to be more concerned with those things we can actually control, we'll reduce stress.
A third thought is to focus on helping others when you can. During the Great Depression, even though all Americans (ok, not all, but most) were struggling, they still would share food with the people who had none. The reality is, most of us have far more than we need, and when things are in transition, it's nice to give a little of yourself. Believe it or not, your giving will help bring you peace.