Does it ever seem like you and everyone you know is pretty much just getting by? Do you ever feel so stressed and busy or at your wits’ end that life seems less about living than surviving? Welcome to the realm of coping, and the survival skills of the new era. Here we talk about the strategies and tactics that give you a real advantage not just in enduring the status quo, but navigating toward a better way of life.

This week we’re talking about Coping — the base level, essential things we do to get through our days, particularly when we’re under pressure and stress.

In a world that can lead us to feel helpless, reactive, and overburdened, it’s important to have strategies for calming our nervous system, for managing our internal and external resources, and for creating a stable sense of center.

So here, we talk about how we wade through the craziness of everyday life, and the fundamental skills we use to stay aware and resilient even in the face of depletion and reactivity.

We look at the physical, mental, and emotional dynamics of coping — from anti-inflammatory eating and sleeping to anti-insanity media habits. And, of course, we offer you some experiments to help you relate with more consciousness and self-compassion to the coping scenarios in your own life.

“Coping” Episode Highlights

  • The essence of coping — recognizing the things you can control and the things you can’t
  • Doing the things that are within your capacity in the service of yourself and everyone around you
  • The challenge of making good decisions and acting out of compassion while in a depleted state
  • Coping fundamentals:
    • Good food and nutrition
    • Consistent circadian rhythms and rest time in darkness
    • Meditation, or even three deep breaths when you notice you’re in reaction or off balance
    • Preemptive Repair (one of Pilar’s Non-Conformist Competencies of Healthy Deviance)
    • Decluttering and creating havens in your home and office
    • Time alone, without distractions
    • Body movement that feels good (vs. exhausting)
    • Limiting exposure to upsetting/disrupting/stress-inducing media
    • Connecting with a positive, supportive community
    • Laughter and fun
  • Self-perpetuating stress: How we rationalize compromising what we know to be healthy behaviors
  • Why emphasizing reconnection — to others, to nature, to nourishment, to self — is the best coping strategy of all

Choose one of the following:

1) During a moment of transition or waiting time during your day, rather than defaulting to your digital devices, look around for someone to be kind to. Make eye contact and say hello. If you’re driving, turn off all distractions and look for opportunities to let people into your lane or give other drivers the benefit of the doubt. Notice how you feel after these interactions.

2) Make a list of resiliency fundamentals and keep it with you. When you get to that time of day when you feel at your very last frayed nerve, note which practices you’ve been doing and which you haven’t. When did you last take a rest break, have a healthy meal, drink water, move your body, connect with anyone in a loving way, turn off media, step outside and look up at the sky? If you’re not doing the basics, breakdown (and loss of productivity) is inevitable.

When you feel stressed or overextended, spend 5-10 minutes re-connecting with yourself, others, nature, or your sense of purpose. How are you really feeling? Can you find an opportunity to be kind to a friend or stranger? Can you get outside for a walk? What are your life goals or spiritual practices? If you can’t find 5 minutes, it’s probably more important than ever that you carve them out.

Big Thanks to Our Friends at Optimize!

Thanks to our sponsor, Optimize by Heroic, for supporting The Living Experiment. Now you can get Optimize membership (formerly $250) for FREE just by signing up here. And check out the Heroic social training platform, with a goal of creating a world in which 51% of the world’s population is flourishing by 2051 — starting with YOU!

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