The family story goes that when I was born, my grandmother said to my mom, "This one's high-strung." That's not an easy way to live, so I've done lots of things in my 66 years on the planet to create more peace and possibility for myself and others.
Yet the last few years I've found myself absolutely wound up again by these transformational times (Globalization! Covid! Tech Explosion! Political Partisanship! )
Lately I've been able to lessen the tension and gain back breathing room with Shirzad Chamine's Positive Intelligence and Dr. Jud Brewer's Unwinding Anxiety. I highly recommend these two kindred approaches, and both offer lots of free resources and assessments. Here's the gist of these experts' work and why it matters:
in the past, bad things happened quickly and good things slowly. To survive, we learned to judge surprising things with a negative lens (there's an unusual snake – kill it!) Now, in the last 150 years, the opposite has become true. Great things happen quickly (here's a covid vaccine – take it!) but we're seeing them as threats because we're still thinking old-school.
It's time to flip your thinking, or in Shirzad's words, up your mental fitness, for your own health and for the well-being of the world. To meet the pace of positive change today (and challenge the negative) requires positive human responses such as creativity, empathy and love. This is in direct opposition to the danger messages we still habitually rely on, learned through surviving for eons before. If you don't believe it, this video from Human Progress may help convince you.
Another family story: When I was young my mom, who had a brilliant but critical mind, responded to many things by saying, "What were you thinking!?" That type of negative reinforcement dredges up guilt, shame and perfectionism. Now, I say that phrase to myself when I catch myself in "brain-spraining" thinking loops. Being awake to when I'm thinking "tight", then switching to looser, creative and mindful thought is key to my being alive and well.
On a global scale, awakened creative thought is key to tackling the big problems we face from world health to climate change. A mindful, expansive approach to uniting people of the world is also less horrible, costly and inhuman than the rigidity inherent in war and dominion.
Do all you can to positively charge your mind, using mindfulness tools like body scans to unite your whole being (go to insight timer and search body scans, you'll thank me). If you need help, ask for help: that also adds to the world's positivity equation because it's expansive thinking. The quickest way to see less our most heartbreaking issues like poverty, racism and war is through the addition of more positively mindful people.