It wasn’t long ago that you woke up in the middle of the night in a panic or stared in the black wide awake desperate to fall asleep. You got up to pee in the dark, stubbed your toe, dinged your knee and (maybe) almost peed in the wrong room. We’ve been there (maybe recently). Your first instinct was to look for the light, which happens to be the same sound advice Justin Baldoni noted when talking quarantine anxiety with Rainn Wilson for Soul Pancake’s Hey There, Human virtual segment.
That is to say, instead of blindly forcing our way through the dark to spite our nose, why don’t we save our knees and toes and look for the light a little more often, even in the brightest of daylight? We’re all a little lost in the fog right now, all the more reason to spread the light. We’re not saying you need to blast your fog lamps and blind those around you, but light and mercy do make a powerful pair.
The pandemic and its fallout have seemingly caused a very dark calamity for everyone, though it may come in many different sizes, shapes and colors. There’s no much control to be had when businesses can’t function, our ability to congregate and celebrate is immobilized and our collective divide continues to grow and grow around the issues connected to this virus.
But one thing that spreads faster than the disease — anxiety. The good news is we can control it, more so than we think. How? By looking for the light and for the mercy, according to Justin.
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Surely, we’re not going to fix everything by thinking happy thoughts or singing “Kumbaya,” but it definitely can help manage the situations we find ourselves in, giving us a break from the mental fatigue, enough to create space for solutions to come in or to take our mind away from the gloom. And while we all face it in some way, it doesn’t have to consume our every thought.
As fear and outrage stoke an already well-burning flame, as people lose homes, jobs, air quality and freedoms, we have to be reminded that where we spend our time adds anxiety if in the wrong places and for too long. Those of us frequently doom-scrolling social media and or people with soft addictions to hard news are more so than ever creating a rift between where we are and our fullest selves.
As Justin and Rainn say: Turn off the news, it’s not going anywhere. The media is designed to instill fear in us to keep us coming back. But if we take a beat to catch our breath and calm our anxiety by meditating, saying a prayer, going for a walk with MotherNature or lifting up our communities, we can find the little bits of light we need to find our way out of the struggle and onto better days, preferably in a room without urine on the floor.
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For more on anxiety with Justin, check out our Man Enough episode below.