Have you noticed that the world seems to be more chaotic than ever? Just turn on the TV or open a web browser and see how quickly you’re bombarded with negativity. Violence, hunger, poverty, terrorism. These are just some of the global issues we’re compelled to ponder on a daily—sometimes hourly—basis. How is it possible to maintain any semblance of peace in a world that seems to have lost its way?
Most people deal with the turmoil in the world by dwelling on it. We read up on the latest news, talk it through with others, and worry over what will happen next or whether the tragedy will affect our community or our loved ones. While these may be natural responses, they tend to have a negative effect on our mental and emotional health. We may begin to feel anxiety or experience a period of depression. These negative reactions spawn from fear and helplessness. We fear the future, yet we feel completely helpless to change it.
The key to maintaining peace during times of chaos (and in turn, learn how to treat anxiety and depression) is to turn the fear into love and the helplessness into empowerment. Obviously, one cannot love violence or poverty, but we can love the present moment and remind ourselves that the universe works in mysterious ways. We may not understand why things have to happen the way they do, but we can accept that everything is as it should be. In doing so, we can stop resisting the things that we cannot change, which is a powerful way to beat depression. You see, when you’re struggling against things that you have no control over, you end up feeling exhausted and defeated. When you accept these things, however, you free up your resources to focus on those things that you can control.
You may be wondering what these things are that you have control over. No one can singlehandedly end world hunger or put a stop to crime once and for all. There are things that we can do, however, that do put a ripple into the pond of existence. The Dalai Lama once said, “We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.” Attaining inner peace isn’t just a personal pursuit; it’s one that affects everyone. To illustrate, think of how your friends and family would be impacted if you were truly at peace. What arguments might you avoid? How much more joy would you enjoy together? Now, think of the people you come into contact with on a daily basis—coworkers, acquaintances, even complete strangers. How will the positive energy you spread as a result of your total peace and contentment affect their lives? What if everyone committed themselves to the journey towards self-acceptance? Could it change the world? Absolutely!
As you continue to practice your personal development, rest in the assurance that you’re not only changing you. It’s not just about learning how to treat your anxiety. It’s not simply about discovering how to beat depression. It really is about making a positive contribution to the world and changing it one heart at a time.