Every day, the media bombards us with the horrific acts of violence that are happening everywhere in the world.
It's easy to wonder if it's possible to feel safe anymore. And if you haven't become skeptical when everyone is a potential enemy, are you in denial or just plain ignorant?
The tendency is to react by being vigilant, suspicious and non-trusting of others, especially those who look and seem different than us.
While the temptation is to be on guard, judge by appearances and live in fear, there is higher path to travel in the midst of all this craziness, mistrust and destruction.
The solution is logical. Many of these inexcusable acts are committed by perpetrators who were born into violence. Negative factors overpowered the positive factors in their lives.
They become disconnected, isolated and depressed, without any type of healthy relationships and social networks. They developed radical views and anti-social behavior.
I often wonder how to wrap my mind around our violent and disconnected planet. How can I be the change I want to see in the world? My answer is to trust more and fear less. My answer is to begin with myself. I invite you to do the same.
Don't let the simplicity of these steps fool you. They work.
Have faith. Have faith in the good of others. Give the benefit of the doubt. Go the extra mile. Treat others like you want to be treated.
Have faith in the good of the world. Fear can be debilitating, but faith brings hope and calm. Choose faith over fear.
Stop avoiding your emotions. Stop mindless eating and shopping. Stop the busy work. Stop watching porn. Stop playing games. Stop all the time-wasters and mind-numbers. Just stop! Get still, slow down and take a break. When you deal with your own problems, the world becomes a better place. If you feel you can't stop, get help.
Be courteous. Be the first one to say hello, open a door, or allow others to go first. Display respect, especially when it's difficult. You'll improve your relationships with those you know and those you've yet to meet.
Create routines. Exercise. Express your gratitude and meditate daily. Both activities decrease fearful thoughts and increase your well-being. They lessen depression, moodiness and anxiety.
Deal with gloom and doom. Stop the doubting, dreading, worrying, procrastinating, stressing and obsessing. They only intensify fear by feeding off each other. Turn off the negative media. Be selective about what you allow into your mind. Write in a journal. Go for a long walk. Do a little yoga. Pray!
Connect with others. Unless you sense danger, be friendly with strangers. It might be the person sitting next to you on the plane, the cashier in the grocery store, or the taxi cab driver. Strike up a conversation. If it doesn't come naturally, memorize some conversation starters. Choose to believe in yourself and others. Choose to connect with the world.
Remain nonviolent. Learn how to deal with your own prejudice and anger. Be quick to accept and slow to judge. Praise more and criticize less. Learn how to surrender, calm yourself and relax. Always take the high road. Live with integrity.
Make others feel important. Don't lose yourself in your electronics. Acknowledge the people around you. Begin with your family members. Do it in public, as well. Turn off your phone! Smile. Laugh. Become interested in the lives of others. Watch them come alive.
Share your gifts. Help others get ahead. Find a place to donate your money, talent and time. Visit the elderly, help out a veteran or work in a soup kitchen. Be a mentor. There is no better time to give back than now.
Give when it's difficult. Give when it hurts. Give! It's the quickest way to feel abundant and prosperous.
Change your perception. When you feel tortured by your own thoughts, shift your perception. When you can't sleep at night, when you are worried about the state of the world, or when you are obsessed about the future, decide to take action. Read something positive. Listen to upbeat music, spend time in nature or use affirmations.
Sometimes it will take less than five minutes to make a shift; other times it may take an hour or two.
No matter what is going on in the external world we have the power to remain calm within. It's our responsibility to learn how to respond rather than react. When we do we not only have a positive effect on those around us but it ripples out across the entire planet.
Don't complain. Don't worry. Instead focus on being the peace and calm that you want to see in the world!