6 Steps to Peace of Mind During the Pandemic

Have you seen the video of Tom Cruise freaking out on the set of Mission Impossible? Check out this version with Tom’s voice dubbed to Santa yelling at Rudolf … it’s hilarious!

Tom’s behavior is ridiculous, but after nearly a year of oppressive government abuse, I realize that almost everyone has a shorter fuse these days.

I naively believed that once the election passed, things would return to normal, but instead the dictator in California has doubled down with even more restrictions. Once we surrender our freedoms, they never give them back.

These lockdowns have far more tragic consequences than the virus has. In San Francisco for example, 621 people have died so far from drug overdoses, far surpassing the supposed 173 deaths from the virus.

As we enter the new year, 2021 feels just as uncertain as 2020 did, but the good news is that I’m sharing some simple but powerful strategies to help restore some sanity, even during the fake pandemic.

Below are some things I’ve learned through the years that have been incredibly helpful for me. I try to follow all these strategies daily, and when I get busy and skip these routines, my mood and productivity deteriorate.

Gratitude

The first thing I do each morning is lie in bed for a couple of minutes to focus on the things I’m grateful for. This simple exercise is shockingly powerful because it’s near impossible to be unhappy while simultaneously focusing on gratitude.

Transcendental Meditation

Practice 10–20 minutes of transcendental meditation, twice a day. This is probably the most impactful of the strategies I’m sharing. Brief meditation recharges my energy, and more importantly, improves my capacity to handle the inevitable annoyances that come with life.

It’s easiest to explain meditation as being akin to having a bucket that is being continually filled throughout the day. Once this imaginary bucket is full, it takes only one drop to cause an overflow, but meditation empties the bucket and makes it easier to take on more stress.

People can make meditation far more complicated than necessary, so make it simple. Sit in a comfortable chair or lie in bed, close your eyes, and repeat any word or phrase, such as “relax,” over and over for the duration of your meditation.

If you’re new to meditation, 20 minutes will feel like an eternity, so when you’re getting started, set your phone alarm to 5 minutes and call it a win. As you get comfortable with meditating for 5 minutes, add some time. Don’t make it a big deal, and don’t worry if you fall asleep.

I cannot express how dramatically consistent meditation will change your life. Try it for at least a week and let me know how you feel.

Man’s Search for Meaning

Read Man’s Search for Meaning. In the book, Viktor Frankl chronicles his experiences in the Nazi concentration camps and explains how finding meaning through suffering is what allowed him to survive the unspeakable hardships.

This is an excellent, short text that I review on audiobook each year as a reminder that regardless of life’s circumstances, we always maintain the freedom to choose our attitude.

The Power of Now

Listen to the audiobook titled The Power of Now. Admittedly this one is difficult to get through, so I crank up the speed in my audiobook player app.

The essence of this book is that we often live with an illusion that our pain is from something in our past or worry about the future. We mistakenly believe happiness is only possible if the past had been different, or if we could achieve some future objective.

The Power of Now provides a novel perspective that gets you focused on the present, where you can truly enjoy peace and satisfaction.

Jiu-Jitsu

Some form of regular exercise is a must, but for me, practicing Jiu-Jitsu is critical for my emotional well-being.

Jiu-Jitsu has the obvious benefits of physical activity, but it also provides social connection as well as a form of moving meditation. Training forces you to be fully present; your bills and relationship problems are irrelevant when you’re grappling with someone who is trying to break your limbs or choke you unconscious.

Serenity Prayer

When I was a child, my parents had a poster of the serenity prayer in our bathroom, and it was displayed where I couldn’t help but read it daily. I didn’t understand or care about it at the time, but today I do, and I can still recite it from memory.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”

Regardless of the circumstances, we are blessed with the option to choose to see the positive or the negative—the opportunity or the obstacles—so I encourage you to choose wisely, because as Kahneman said, “Nothing in life is as important as you think it is when you’re thinking about it.”

Admittedly, during the past year, it has not been easy for me to accept the totalitarian governmental control as America shifts toward Communism, so I wrote this month’s newsletter as a reminder as much for you as for me, that regardless of the circumstances, we must be proactive about preserving our emotional well-being.

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