Emotional Health During Times of Extreme Conflict

The world is tumultuous right now, and it feels like the unimaginable is coming to pass. I never dreamt that I would be raising children during a pandemic, or on what feels like the brink of war. While my daily life is peaceful, it feels like there is a seismic shift in the world, and my heart goes out to all of the mothers and children that seek, and deserve peace. There is a delicate balance to be struck between remaining compassionate and not getting swept away by the chaos of the world. Trying to stay grounded and present as a householder, while the world’s events are being shared on television, the radio, social media platforms, and home devices, for me requires a dedicated practice. Here are three ways that I stay centered:


I practice the Neti Neti visualization technique that was passed on to me by my mother’s guru, Goswami Kriyananda at the Temple of Kriya Yoga in Chicago. This technique reminds us that we are not our thoughts, and while it sounds so simple to remember that, the mind likes to identify with thoughts and emotions, and take those on as part of the self. This ancient Yogic technique can help remind us that we are not this thought, we are not that thought, we are not thought. You can read the full technique that I shared in my book with co-authors Nicole Stuart and Andrea Orbeck, “Total Body Beautiful: Secrets to Looking and Feeling Your Best After Age 35,” on Oprah Daily https://www.oprahdaily.com/life/health/a44831495/emotion-management-tools/

Disconnect outwardly to connect inwardly:

In other words…take a day off of the news. We are being bombarded by messages and images filled with death and destruction. I am not saying to turn a blind eye, simply to gather yourself for at least one day a week and find hope in the beauty that surrounds you. A walk in a garden, listening to children’s laughter, a deep breath into the light of the sunrise, can all help to reset our overtaxed nervous systems. Our world is resilient and if we are to be the change that we wish to see in the world, we need a moment to hear our own thoughts, form our own opinions, and to create action plans for our families and for our world.

Make a plan:

There are many extraordinarily important causes in the world right now. Choose one that you and your family are passionate about and make a plan about how you can proactively create change. Whether it is setting up a fundraiser, sending resources like food and clothing to an area of the world that needs it, or teaching children about peace activists, it is important o have an outlet for all of this energy. Warrior energy can be channeled in positive ways to create new programs, including teaching children about empathy and negotiation.

During this tumultuous time in history, I am reminded of the beautiful Sanskrit chant, 

Loka Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu

May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.

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