As we usher in a new year, it is natural to reflect on the year gone by and think about what our hopes and dreams for 2014 will be. Since becoming a mother, I’ve noticed life has become much more chaotic. Many people, whether parents or not can relate to the increasing stress of the work/life juggle; trying to squeeze more into the day and never really feeling like we’ve accomplished much of anything. This can lead to feeling drained, disappointed and not good enough. When faced with interpersonal conflict, it is easy to get pulled into someone else’s reactivity and in turn find our own anxiety levels rising.
I do not believe there is a perfect way to ensure we are insulated from life’s stressors. In fact, there are always opportunities for growth and learning from every crisis or challenge. Stress is inevitable and can even be helpful. There are lessons to be learned from the different people that come into our lives. I do want to share one gift though that I have been trying to give to myself in hope that it will make your life a little easier – the gift of inner peace. Whether with a child, a partner or a colleague, I’ve learned the key is to let go of the outcome and focus on the relationship. I try to start each day with affirmations of what I want as if it were happening and connect with a sense of gratitude for the people in my life. By shifting away from anticipatory worry and personalizing another’s actions to focussing on staying grounded, this helps me to remain calm and empathic to others. Sometimes I need to walk away or close my eyes to focus on my breathing and love or caring for the other. I’ve learned as my anxiety level rises, my problem solving abilities go out the window and power struggles ensue. As many anxiety sufferers know, with anxiety comes avoidance, which only further damages attachment and one’s self-confidence. So next time conflict or chaos arises, rather than go to war or run and hide, I’m suggesting we try to focus on what we can control; giving ourselves the gift of inner peace one moment at a time.
Come to our weekly Walk-In Counselling Clinic held every Thursday from 1-7:00 pm to take your first steps toward inner peace.
January 28, 2014 is Bell’s “Let’s Talk Day” Together we can break the stigma associated with Mental Illness.