Silver Linings: Creating Balance in the Chaos

Chances are the last few days or weeks have been jarring for you—rapid fire changes leaving us feeling confused, anxious, and other distressing feelings. These are just the kinds of situations our sophisticated brains urge us to avoid—painful ones. In fact, our self-preserving brains are hard-wired to notice and react to bad news more intensely and readily than good news. (Way more important for our survival to sense and avoid danger than notice and appreciate the good stuff.)

So, what can we do to override this wiring when there seems to be bad new and impending “danger” around every social media feed?  Put a little more effort into seeking out and relishing in the positive—widen your lens to see everything here. Here’s a few ideas of how to do that right now:

  • Give your left brain a break. Be silly, watch a funny movie, play music or have a sing-a-long, create art, or write a chain story with your family . Humor and creativity are powerful tools of resilience and healing.
  • Look at your wishlist. Are there books you’ve been wanting to read? Or, friends you’ve been missing and want to connect with? Is this the opportunity to try out new recipes  or cook meals you usually don’t have time for? Have you been meaning to learn to play that guitar collecting dust in the corner of your bedroom since Mother’s Day 4 years ago?…ahem…I mean hypothetically, of course. Take control of your time!
  • Look at your annoying To-Do list. Take a load off your shoulders and get to the things you’ve been procrastinating or just needed longer blocks of time to do. Getting something off the “I’ll do it tomorrow” list can help you feel accomplished and more in control.
  • Reset and re-focus. When we think about what the next few months will hold, it can seem worrisome and bleak. Challenge yourself to think about how you want to use this time to create memories you’ll cherish and laugh about in the future. What brings meaning and joy to your life? In the stillness, what can you learn about yourself and your ability to be content in the silence? Go for the deep dive and explore.
  • Find a way to help.  Volunteering your time or energy can provide a reminder that you’re still in a community and connection to your gratitude. Along with routine, being of service to others can give us a sense of purpose and direction. Offer your gifts and abilities to others.

As you make your way through the next few weeks, make sure you seek the silver lining with particular intention and persistence. Remember, your brain isn’t going to find it easily—you’ve got to help it along to see the whole picture. As a bonus, this practice of guiding your brain towards the silver lining creates a new habit (and wiring) in the brain to do it on its own—so, be patient and persistent with yourself to reap the long-term benefits!

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