To go into solitude, a man needs to retire as much from his chamber as from society. I am not solitary whilst I read and write, though nobody is with me. But if a man would be alone, let him look at the stars. The rays that come from those heavenly worlds, will separate between him and what he touches.
Emerson, Ralph Waldo, Nature
Every night for the next week, set aside ten minutes before you go to sleep. Write down three things that went well today and why they went well. You may use a journal or your computer to write about the events, but it is important that you have a physical record of what you wrote. The three things need not be earthshaking in importance (“My husband picked up my favorite ice cream for dessert on the way home from work today”), but they can be important (“My sister just gave birth to a healthy baby boy”).
Four and a half million Americans are on probation or parole — more than twice the nation’s jail population. Parolees and probationers are required to check in regularly with officials, who are charged with helping them rebuild their lives.
I got the book after hearing this interview. It was quite good.
The Second Chance Club: Hardship and Hope After Prison
Take a break from news.
The 24-hour news cycle can make anxiety spike. Give yourself a limit. Stick with what you need to know and what’s happening in your community.
Change your mindset.
Avoid thinking too much about the future or worst-case scenarios. Forecasting can trigger anxiety. Instead of saying, “I’ll never recover,” tell yourself, “I’ll make it through this.”
“One of the keys to becoming more resilient is to practice compassion both toward ourselves as well as toward others,” Ms. Marston said. “One of the keys to doing so is to interrupt recurring cycles of negative inner dialogue.”
When we find ourselves cycling through negative thoughts that don’t go anywhere, it’s important to take a step back to disrupt the cycle of anxiety, Ms. Marston said. “This can include stopping and focusing on our breath rather than on our thoughts, changing our physical environment to help create distance from our initial mental space, or having a conversation with someone we trust to get a fresh perspective.
Dr. Sarah Kate McGowan, an assistant clinical professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, suggested coming up with coping statements to help you get through dark moments. This might be something like, “I can take this one day at a time” or “This is frightening, and I can handle it.” You can even write these statements on index cards to refer to when you find yourself back in the negativity loop, she said.”
Kristin Wong, NY TIMES
How to Stay Optimistic When Everything Seems Wrong
“We call this state “the Maze.” It’s called the Maze because the deeper you get into it, the harder it is to escape. The person who has “wronged” you becomes your obsession. It’s as if they’ve taken up residence in your head and you can’t get them out. You curse them, you argue with them, you plot revenge. In this state, the other person becomes your jailor, trapping you in a maze of your own repetitive thoughts.”
…”You may be justified in reacting the way you do—but it doesn’t matter. Once you’re in the Maze, you’re damaging yourself.”
Stutz, Phil. The Tools: 5 Tools to Help You Find Courage, Creativity, and Willpower–and Inspire You to Live Life in Forward Motion
“As far as I am concerned, stress is a manufactured thing,” Dr. Ellsworth Wareham told CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta in 2015 as part of a Vital Signs special on blue zones.
Wareham was 100 years old at the time and still mowed his front yard.
“I never had stress,” said Wareham, a life-long Seventh-day Adventist. “I have a philosophy: You do the best you can. And the things you can’t do anything about, don’t give any thought to them.”
A heart surgeon by trade, Wareham assisted in surgeries until he was 95 years old, and told Gupta that he would still be able to operate at the age of 100.
Sandee LaMotte, What this sunny, religious town in California teaches us about living longer
In fact, your thoughts often have much more to do with how you feel than what is actually happening in your life.
This isn’t a new idea. Nearly two thousand years ago the Greek philosopher, Epictetus, stated that people are disturbed “not by things, but by the views we take of them.” In the Book of Proverbs (23: 7) in the Old Testament you can find this passage: “For as he thinks within himself, so he is.” And even Shakespeare expressed a similar idea when he said: “for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so” (Hamlet, Act 2, Scene 2).
Burns M.D., David D.. Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy