Stay Calm And Healthy At Times of Healthcare Uncertainty

In very troubled times, take stock of what keeps your sanity and health.

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Notice beauty, fragility, and transition to identify your own well-being. Photo by Christyl Rivers

We live in dangerous times. Many people died today due to human related causes, and we may feel despair at things becoming even worse. It’s very hard to set politics and pollution aside, to feel helpless, and to want to bury those feelings. You are not alone.

In fact, you are better off acknowledging your feelings, especially those which arise due to empathy and compassion. As bits of the old world unravel, take time to see the new world. It has potential, and it holds opportunities for you, your health, and your life.

You can make a difference with every choice you make, and with that self-validation, you can feel more acceptance, and sometimes control. We cannot always control circumstances, but we can always master our responses to them. Try these Ecopsychology exercises to feel like you have some calm, even when you do not have complete control.

It is popular now to say that having sadness, concern, or fear makes you a feeble snowflake. It does not. It means you are courageously facing reality, rather than denying, or burying it. Also, always remember that to be “too emotional” very often refers to crying, as if nature’s design for healing and cleansing is negative. Being called “too emotional” seldom includes the emotions of anger, or even homicidal hate and rage. This illogic tells us that the snowflake meme is often psychological projection from others with fears of their own.

— It is natural to feel sadness. Go outdoors and focus on a natural attraction,* be it a tree, singing bird, rippling water, or whatever catches and leads your eyes, ears, nose, and touch. Breathe. Allow yourself to feel empathy for yourself and for others. Take deep breaths, and do not shy away from any feelings that come, be they frustration, anger, guilt, or sorrow.

— Being mindful, continue to open your senses to nature and allow all thoughts, feelings, ideas, and emotions to come and go. As this happens, also take notice of positive awareness, as well. It is hard to stay sad when a bird sings a lilting song, and it is just as much an emotion if the bird is suddenly drowned out by traffic noise, or a chainsaw in the distance. Allow all your senses. Allow all your feeling. Boldly, but often gratefully too, acknowledge all that you sense.

— Tune in to any part of your body in discomfort or pain. Listen to your body with all the same senses with which you connect to the external world. Do not be concerned if you find your mind wandering, or even fixated. Just keep following your thoughts and welcome sensations that are informing you of your health and well-being. Note that internal and external health are related, and within that, you have some influence and directive.

— Allow as much time as you need to spend acknowledge your feelings within nature’s domain. Know that all life is connected through your breath and all water, nourishment, sunlight, and so on. As thoughts and senses come and go, strive to validate all life creating processes engaged all around you. If thoughts come that instruct you to control choices, welcome those thoughts.

— “Everything you do makes a difference,” Jane Goodall advises. “You have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” Think and feel some of your choices. Even if it is as simple an action as picking up a piece of litter, or as big an action as relocating to a smaller home. The sizes of your differences all add up to affect reality. What makes Ecopsychology therapy distinct from other mindfulness, yoga, and calm creating exercises (none of which should be dismissed) is that in Ecopsychology we concentrate on action. Finding and knowing your senses and all they show you allows a greater opportunity for personal freedom in your life.

— When possible, share your Selena allures, natural attractions, with another person, or persons. You may even find it is more powerful and life affirming if you take these outdoor actions with a pet, or if you acknowledge with gratitude a squirrel, butterfly, bee, bird, or other pollinator, or tree planter.

— As you finish this outdoor mediation with open emotions and sensations, think and feel the life-force of as many things as you can and thank them, silently, (or out loud if doing so energizes your power) For example, thank the green leaves of the oak or maple. Thank the life-giving breeze, or waters, thank the frisky squirrel, or soaring bird.

Healthcare, and its costs, its past assurances and more, are under threat. Validate that feeling if it is in your circumstance. Acknowledge that this exercise is not to find the cure for cancer, or to be all touchy feely in the case of significant injury, or loss. This exercise is to know yourself, and to know your choices. It is to connect to the outer world of reality, and to not be solely driven to surf the internet or any other abstract reality for all your answers. Nature holds many answers. Look deeply into your connection to Earth to truly feel your belonging, and to be open to the myriad of ways that your health, and your whole being began with life. Unlike religion or ideology, nature is consistent, unbiased, and true.

If you make even one change, let’s say you decide to buy far less plastic, or to stop buying retail because you are depressed that marine birds are dying due to our packaging and plastic trash, in that change is a degree, however small, of your personal power. Own your power with your senses and emotions. One change in our household, for example is to include more produce grown locally, and to eat less meat. For others we know, they are more active politically, creating a better world through sustainable politics of equality and environmental justice. Investigate projects, from grassroots up to global impact. Do what works for you.

*Natural attractions, web-strings, and/or Selena allures are those threads in nature that Ecopsychology utilizes for reconnection and belonging, to our biosphere.

Please click on this story to share or to comment. It is greatly appreciated, and a special gratitude for you in the world will be noted! Christyl Rivers, Phd.

Ecopsychologist, Writer, Farmer, Defender of reality, and Cat Castle Custodian.

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