For those of you following the Health Stigma & Privilege series, part three will be coming next Friday. I appreciate all of the interest and comments that have been developing.
Today’s post isn’t the post I intended to write this week. But I am feeling pulled to write a different post. While I live far away from Boston and West, Texas, I have noticed a heaviness in my chest this week, a sense of heartbreak. The heaviness has been compounded as I listen to stories of people being wrongly accused and facing increased prejudice.
All of this sorrow and loss has reminded me how important it is, in times of crisis and in our daily lives, to choose where we spend our time, energy and attention. This is beautifully captured by the Fred Rogers quote which has been viral online.
One of the things that I appreciated about the middle of the week–when not much was known about the suspects in the Boston bombing–was that news outlets focused on helpers, on stories of compassion, connection and heroism. And that got me thinking. Shouldn’t we be paying attention to what we pay attention to? To where we focus our time and energy?
Focusing on what is good, comforting, normal, life-giving, or joyful can be an important way to build your own resilience. Resilience is the ability to adapt to changes and cope with adversity (more on that here and here).
So, in this week when you might feel bombarded by a sense of danger, uncertainty, or fear, I would love for you to think about some small steps you can take to place your focus on those things that are positive. Here are a few examples:
- Spend some time with young children. They have mastered the art of being present right now.
- Do something silly.
- Plant something (this can be a teeny tiny seed in a pot if you don’t have lot of space)–when we plant something, we invest in the future.
- Send a card or a letter to someone you have been out of touch with.
- Make a date with your significant other.
- List the three things you like most about where you are in your life right now.
- List three things you are looking forward to in the next week, month, & year.
- Connect with your spiritual background.
- Do a lovingkindness meditation.
- Talk to a good friend on the phone.
- Hang out with a dog or cat.
- Practice random kindness.
Even in our darkest moments, there is something good to focus on. Whether it is ordinary heroes in a moment of tragedy, communities pulling together, pets, hobbies–there is always something. And when we allow ourselves to put our focus on that something, we build our own resilience and push back against the darkness.
What do you choose to focus on?