Many of us are feeling panicked about the state of the world but ‘worry’ doesn’t help us to make changes. Instead, we need to acknowledge the source of our discomfort, think about how we want to be feeling and then work out what we can do, each day, to make that happen…
Words: Annie Ridout
I was stood at the gate to some fields, looking out at the green beyond.
The leaves turning bronze on the trees.
A great expanse of sky.
Thinking: things are feeling quite difficult for a lot of people right now.
Post-pandemic burnout is returning as we enter another ‘crisis’.
The news is incredibly depressing – and sometimes scary.
I know that spending time in nature reduces my cortisol levels: fresh air, movement, a vast expanse of sky above me and being surrounded by green. It helps.
But I also know I’m not immune to the dark world events that seem to be continuously unravelling.
There are things beyond my control, like rising living costs, that create a very real challenge.
While stood looking out at those fields, I felt a rising sense of panic and dread about the future.
Now, I know that there is lots in my life to be grateful for.
But I also know that attempting to practise gratitude while in a state of panic simply doesn’t work.
First, we have to acknowledge the source of our anxiety.
Next, we look at how we might make adjustments so that we can move through it or avoid the triggers.
And lastly, we can work out how we’d like to be feeling each day, and what small changes we can make to welcome in more of the good stuff.
Here is a simple coaching exercise that I use to help me shift away from panic and closer to positivity.
How I want to feel (coaching exercise)
To start, get clear on how you are actually feeling, right now.
Write as many words as you like. There might be a mix of positive and negative words, or they might all lean one way. There is no wrong word or response to this exercise.
If you’re finding things hard but can’t conjure the words, here are some that might resonate…
Now, how would you like life to be feeling?
If you’d like some ideas…
Look at the first list.
Can you identify the areas of your life that are making you feel the difficult things?
For instance, the state of the world might be making you feel overwhelmed.
And then think about how you might create some distance between you and that situation.
For example: reducing how much you engage with the news.
If money feels tight, are there ways you can cut back? (Like secondhand presents this year, or by not buying presents except when it’s absolutely necessary).
Or perhaps you could follow someone like Clare Seal on Instagram, as she shares money-saving tips and supports people who are trying to shift their debt.
Now, looking at the second list.
Pull out a handful of those positive words and think about what makes you feel that way.
What brings joy, contentment, sparkle, sensuality etc?
And how can you incorporate more of it into your life?
Can you create a ritual or routine around it?
Would you like to make a commitment, to yourself, to do more of that thing – starting today?
Remember, just looking up at the sky for 60 seconds can help us to feel calmer.
This exercise isn’t necessarily about investing money. Instead, we can locate the simple things in our everyday lives that bring happiness and connection – and commit to doing them more often.
If you’d like to share what’s come up for you, join the conversation on Instagram.
If you liked this coaching exercise, you might like this coaching course from The Robora founder, and certified coach, Annie Ridout: How to be more productive (work, rest, play, rituals)