Finding Calm in the Midst of Chaos

How to be calm and stay calm in the middle of chaotic times in a crazy world.These are some crazy times, aren’t they?  The world seems upside-down.  A pandemic, politics, conspiracy theories… news just seems to be crazier and crazier every day.

And that can catch up with each of us, stressing us out and leaving us afraid.  Which places your body and brain on constant alert.

That is exhausting.

And chaotic.

Why do those news stories and social media feeds keep us so amped up and stressed out?  And how can you stay calm(er) in the midst of chaos?

In this episode of the Thriveology Podcast,

RELATED RESOURCES
Covid Pandemic Series
Dealing with Anxiety
Depression Series
Breathe Through
My Books

Is the Present Perfect?

Is the present perfect?  Yes.  Find out how in this episode of the Thriveology Podcast.My client was telling me about lots of struggles, difficult times, and a few positive moments.  I noted, as I have many times with many clients, “It sounds like your present is perfect.”

She went silent.  I was silent.  But I could see her processing and struggling with my words.  I sat quietly.

She finally erupted: “Perfect?!? How can you say that?  After all the stuff I told you… how can you tell me that things are perfect?”

I told her, “I didn’t say great.  I didn’t say it was how you wanted them to be.  Only that the present is perfect.”

In that moment, I could see her gears turning… but she still couldn’t make sense of what I was saying.

How can things feel upside-down and inside-out, and be perfect?

“Perfect” does not mean preferred.  It means something is complete.  A perfectly cooked steak is complete. It is cooked to a certain level.  But also consider a “perfect storm,” the perfect combination of  circumstances that mean the storm is more powerful than when those circumstances don’t combine.

The idea of the Present Perfect, which sounds like grammar, comes from life coach, Thomas Leonard.  He noted that the Present Perfect is the fact that this moment perfectly reflects everthing that has come before, up until now.

Why does that matter?  We explore it in this episode of the Thriveology Podcast.  Listen below

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Medium Article on the Present Perfect
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My Books

“I’m Feeling a Little Acedic”

What is acedia?  And why do you feel the way you do during this pandemic?  The antidote to acedia.Six months.  That is how far we are into the pandemic… at least in the US.  Yes, I  know.  There were cases before then.  But March marks the start of the social effects of pandemic.  Lock down.  Restrictions.  Social distance.  Six months.

And many people are feeling the effects!  I would go so far as to saying most, but plenty would contact me to tell me that they are not.

If you are feeling the effects, I am speaking to you.  Do you find yourself just… listless?  Out of sorts?  Lost in things to do, but not getting them done?

That feeling you are having is not a new one, just from the pandemic.  It dates back to the ancient Greeks.  It was an idea that Christian writers discussed as the distraction of monks and others.  In fact, it was a thought process Christian writers warned against, as it can spiral.

And here we sit, 1/2 of a year into feeling the effects of a pandemic.  And many people are feeling just a bit… acedic.  The term for this feeling was Acedia.  That listless, not caring, ought-to-be-doing-something restlessness, where nothing actually gets done.

Is that the feeling you have?

It is perfectly normal… which is different than saying it is helpful.  So while it is no surpirse you are feeling it, let’s talk about the acedia antidote.

Listen below.

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Coping with Covid Series
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LeeBaucom.com
My Book Page

What Stage Are You In? – Pandemic Grief

Stages of grief and the covid pandemic.Have you ever had the experience of a doctor telling you what was wrong with you, and even if you couldn’t really do anything, it helped to know what it was?  Maybe it was just an ache or pain, a small illness.  Just having a name for it — even some fancy latin term (or maybe especially some latin term) — somehow makes it seem better.  Naming something helps us feel some control.

This pandemic has stripped us of many feelings of control.  It more often feels like life is disrupted and dangerous.  Early in the pandemic — but far enough in that it was clear we were headed down a long path — I was wondering why it took me so long to process that we were in for a long-haul… with implications for every segment of life.  Why had I “missed” the signs?

Denial.  That is what I realized.  I had been playing the denial game.

Which reminded me that I was experiencing a grief response.  I was in grief!  From the pandemic.  Well, the pandemic losses and impact.

Over the next few weeks, as I talked with individuals and organizations, I noticed that we were all in collective grief, as well as experiencing the individual grief.  And as the pandemic has continued, I have noticed that people are experiencing the different stages of grief at different times.  That very fact seems to be at the root of much of the struggles I see played out on social media and regular media.  Clashing stages.

Still, stages.  Grief comes in stages. Elizabeth Kübler-Ross noted 5 stages.  Her colleague, David Kessler, has more recently added a potential 6th stage (an aspirational stage for many).  The point of describing the stages is not so much to force people on through the stages.  It is more for being able to name the stage for what it is.  The capacity of looking at where you are and naming the stage gives a sense of control.  And when we have some sense of control, we can choose whether we are where we want to be, or if we would rather shift.  The shift becomes an option.

Or we can just name the stage and know that is what we are experiencing.

What stage of grief are you in?  I discuss the 5+1 stages in this week’s episode of the Thriveology Podcast.  Listen below.

RELATED RESOURCES
Medium Article by Lee Baucom on Grief
Medium Article by Lee Baucom on The Paradox of Pandemic
Book by Lee Baucom, Thrive Principles
Coping with Covid Series of Podcasts

Finding Moments of Calm in Times of Chaos

David Dachinger and Tamara Green, how to find calm in chaotic times, using the Loving Meditations App.What a chaotic time we are in!  Even without a pandemic, it was already chaotic, what with politics and changes in society. Stir in a pandemic, and there is NO way to be calm.

Right?

Or maybe….

Maybe calm is not about what is happening around you, outside of you. Perhaps it comes from somewhere within you. Somewhere that knows you are separate from the external chaos.

Our internal response to a chaotic world can be chaos… or we might be able to find calm. Especially if we can separate our thoughts from the events and emotions. If we can find a space between what is happening and how we respond.  A space that is rooted in peace.

On this episode of the Thriveology Podcast, I have a chance to speak with David Dachinger and Tamara Green.  David is a firefighter and a Grammy nominated music composer (quite the contrast there!).  And Tamara is an author and licensed therapist.

When David was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer (there IS no stage 5), his world shifted chaos from fighting fires to fighting cancer. He and Tamara realized that they needed to rally their resources to help in David’s health and healing. That included meditation and mindfulness. The resources they developed are now helping others to find calm in the midst of chaos.

Not a bad goal in today’s world, is it?

Listen below to hear their story and their method of bringing calm to the world through an app.

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LovingMeditations App
David and Tamara’s Website
Calming Your Thriving Body Episode
A Thriving Breath Episode
Coping with COVID Series
Thrive Principles Book

Thinking Through The Pandemic

Coping with COVID Series

 

Donald Robertson, modern Stoic philosopher and therapist.I was at a book signing a while back, signing a book of mine that is a few years old.  This person picked it up, looked at the publication date, put it down, and said, “I was looking for something more recent.”

That had me pondering… how long is information valid?  Sure, I would not likely want to read a computer book about the Windows 98 operating system, or about the coming “Y2K crisis.”  But what about transformational information?  When does that lose value?

Human brains have not changed in structure for millenia.  Which is why we still garner insight and understanding from books written millenia ago.  Ancient thoughts and texts still illuminate us these days.

Which brings me to my guest this week on the Thriveology Podcast.  I asked Donald Robertson to talk with me about some pretty old thoughts.  No, Donald is not millenia old.  But the philosophy he espouses and teaches is.  Donald is a modern Stoic philosopher, drawing on ancient Stoicism and what it offers to us in our current world.

And in our current pandemic situation, Stoic thought has LOTS to teach us.  In fact, Stoic thought is the underlying philosophy of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, the cornerstone of modern mental health counseling.

Donald discusses the relevance of Stoic philosophy in today’s world, and how we can apply it to the pandemic in which we find ourselves.  Listen in as Donald Robertson gives some powerful help in dealing with our thoughts and our emotions in the midst of today’s (and future) struggles.

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DonaldRobertson.name
ModernStoicism.com
What Thriving People Know About Thoughts
Your Thoughts, Your Stories
Live Each Day as THE Day

Breathe for Your Health and Calm

Coping with COVID Series

James Nestor, author of Deep and Breath.It happens about 25,000 per day.  And for the most part, it is automatic.  But it is one of the few bodily functions that you can “take off automatic” and choose how you will do it.  And you might not be doing it optimally.

What is it?

Breathing.  Taking a breath.  Inhaling and exhaling.

I know, it seems automatic, right?  But you can choose to take a deep breath.  Or you can hold your breath.  You may breathe out of your nose.  Or you may breathe with your mouth (you may want to change that one… listen to the podcast for why).

Breathing one way can stress you out.  Breathing another way will calm you down (meaning, you can choose which way you want to breathe!).

Since you are currently reading this, we can assume you are breathing.  That’s a great start?  How about breathing BETTER?  That is a process that can take you down lots of paths.

On this episode of the Thriveology Podcast, I interview James Nestor.  A journalist and writer, James got interested in breathing from an ealier book, Deep, which focused on freediving (people going very deep for a long time, because they are excellent breathers).

His upcoming (and excellent) book is Breath.  It is a super-deep (and very readable) “dive” into breathing — why it is important, how to do it better, and what difference it makes.

When I heard about the book, I knew I needed to get James on the podcast, at this moment.  His book won’t be out until May (but go ahead and pre-order it!).  But with the pandemic, you need this information now.  So, I got him on!  And James offered some simple, easy ways to uber-breathe to help your health.

This is super important.  Take a listen below!  (Then order his book!)

RELATED RESOURCES
Breath – from Amazon
Breath – from Bookstore.org (they support local bookstores)
James Nestor’s website

Coping with COVID Series

The COVID Coping SeriesWhat a time we are living through in the world!  The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many parts of culture and the economy to a screeching halt.  Other parts are overwhelmed with the pace.

Frontline and essential workers are feeling the overwhelm of responsibility.  Most of the rest are feeling the overwhelm of isolation.

We WILL get through this.  That is what we, as humans, do.  We overcome.  We rise to the challenge.  We push through.  And we will do the same with this crisis.

But between here and there, we have to live.  We can move beyond just surviving.  We just start with surviving.  And we reach from there.

Over the past month, I have been releasing podcast episodes that focus on dealing with the COVID crisis, both in terms of thriving and in terms of relationships.

I have grouped them together here, so you can find them easily.  Some are from my Thriveology Podcast, and others from my Save The Marriage Podcast.

Here they are:

THRIVING-ORIENTED EPISODES:

Thriving in an Age of Panic

Stay Sane While Staying Safe

How to Hope in Tough Times

The Fear/Anxiety Contagion

RELATIONSHIP-ORIENTED EPISODES:

What Now? – Saving your marriage in the midst of a pandemic

Staying the Course in a Crisis (or 2)

Coping as a Couple Caught in COVID Quarantine

Time for a Relationship Reset?

The Fear/Anxiety Contagion

Coping with COVID Series

How to avoid being infected by the emotional contagion of fear and anxiety, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.  Special coronavirus podcast episode.It’s highly contagious.  You can catch it from a single interaction with one person.  You can catch it much faster in a crowd.  You can pass it on to someone else in an instant.

You can also catch it from just reading, watching, or listening to something.

In 39 milliseconds, you have it… and you didn’t even see it coming!

Coronavirus?  Nope.  That is certainly serious, and you absolutely want to do everything you can to avoid catching or spreading it.  I do not want to minimize the risks of this pandemic.

But that is not the contagion I am focusing on here.

This contagion is fear and anxiety.  Yes, you can catch fear.  Yes, you can catch anxiety.  And you can also spread them.

Humans have a natural wiring (we share it with the animals at the watering hole… and all the others) to pick up on fear and anxiety.

Many times, people have said, “Should I panic over this?”  The “this” has been lots of different things.  And my answer is always, “Panic is never a better option.  Should you respond?  Should you choose an action? Yes.  Panic?  No.”

That is easier said than done. But on this episode of the Thriveology Podcast, I share why fear/anxiety is contagious, along with how to limit the infection.  Listen below.

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Dealing with Fear
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Lee’s Thrive Books

How to Hope in Tough Times

Coping with COVID Series

How to have hope in tough times — coronavirus and other times.Let me just say, I am a bit weary.  How about you?

This has been a wearying time for so many of us.  Nobody is unaffected by this pandemic.  And we can’t even point to an end to the crisis.  Take a guess, and your guess is probably as good as any other.

What do we do?  Everything seems to be upside-down, inside-out, and topsy-turvy.  It’s hard to figure out what happens next and what to do next.

Which means that some people are beginning to feel hopeless.

Early in my career, as a hospital chaplain, I saw what happens when people have hope… and when they lose hope.  But I didn’t really have any way to help people who were hitting hopelessness.  I just saw the damage.

Thanks to other researchers, I am more clear about how we can build and hold hope, even in tough times.  If you can’t hold it in tough times, it just needs some boosting, and some knowledge.

Let’s talk about hope, tough times, and the Hope Formula.  Listen below.

RELATED RESOURCES
Dealing with Stress
Dealing with Loss and Grief
Dealing with Depression
Dealing with Fear and Anxiety
Lee Baucom’s Books