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There seems to be a general feeling, heard from all sides, that the post-COVID world needs a reset. The pandemic imposed new and drastic stresses in people’s lives. The need to cooperate was brought into high relief, and the rise in areas like depression, anxiety, and domestic violence was symptomatic of a society pushed to its limits and beyond.
No one escaped the negative effects of the pandemic, but was there a lesson to take away that can actually reset your life? For a moment, set aside the temptation to think that it only takes mass vaccinations to make life normal again. As crises wane, it is only natural to put the worst experiences behind us. What is rare, and yet extremely valuable, is to emerge from a crisis with a better life. By this I mean a better inner life, because it is in the area of mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being that the pandemic had its strongest effect. Here are five resets you can undertake personally to bring wellness to your inner life.
Reset 1: Stay Centered
Stress is unpredictable and takes control when it gets to be too much. Then you are thrown off balance mentally and emotionally. The people who respond the best to chronic stress know how to remain centered. They can consciously return to a state of calm inner balance. This is a skill you can apply right now and every day in the future.
Anytime you feel agitated, distracted, restless, scattered, or on the verge of being overwhelmed, take a few minutes to center yourself. Find a quiet place, close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and place your attention in the middle of your chest in the area of your heart. Sit quietly, breathing normally, until you feel calm and centered. The key to this practice is repetition. By using it often during the day, meaning anytime you notice that you are not centered, you accustom your mind to return naturally and easily to its balance point.
Reset 2: Find and Give Support
People survive crises better if they have as much support as possible. Studies have shown that each support system you add to your life increases your sense of safety, security, and well-being when times get tough. Support can come from family, friends, religious affiliation, service organizations, and various support groups online and in the community.
Finding support for yourself and giving it to others is a basic form of bonding, and it counters the impulse to be alone and isolated, which is very common in a crisis. Support is different than constantly texting, seeking distractions, and being online all day. The time to create a web of support around you is during good times, so that when things are not so good, you have a psychological and emotional safety net.
Reset 3: Value Inner Peace and Quiet
Slowdowns, lockdowns, and enforced isolation are stultifying. There’s a feeling of passivity and uselessness that sets in for many people. So the urge to get moving once more is only natural as the crisis wanes. But you need to realize that the mind falls pretty to boredom and restlessness because it is in the habit of constant activity. Modern life puts our nervous systems into overdrive, and most people are addicted to this, mistaking overstimulation for normality.
The best remedy for nervous-system overdrive is to take time every day to sit with your eyes closed, go within, and settle down. Learn to value your minds’ inner quiet and calmness. This is a state of awareness that is at once restful and alert. Inside-time isn’t dead time. You are moving into the set point from which all creativity and productivity springs.
Reset 4: Raise Your Spiritual I.Q.
Everyone is living a unique story, even when society experiences a mass event like the pandemic. An essential part of anyone’s story needs to be a set of higher values. These include love, compassion, empathy, beauty, truth, creativity, service, devotion, and personal growth. Unless you actively spend time engaged with these values, in whatever way you choose, you are not using your spiritual potential.
By devoting yourself to the higher values you have chosen, you raise your spiritual I.Q. You can’t be spiritual just by wishing or dreaming about it; even regular meditation, although valuable, isn’t the same thing. You have to express your spirit, which only happens in everyday life. Purpose and meaning grow if you nourish them, and the best way is by consciously leading a life in which spiritual values are given real priority.
Reset 5: Detachment
It is hard to define detachment and even harder to put it in a positive light. In modern life, the emphasis is always on doing, improving, getting involved, making a career, etc. In other words, there is constant pressure to be fully engaged all the time. Yet there’s a reason behind teachings like “Be still, and know that I am God” and “Be in the world but not of it.” The Buddhist doctrine of “non-doing” points in the same direction but without religious overtones.
The point of detachment, which is the common thread in all these teachings, is that it leads to a great mystery. This is the mystery of higher consciousness, also referred to as waking up, becoming enlightened, and walking in the light. To grasp what waking up means, you can’t rely on your ego and isolated self. They are mental constructs that keep you totally entangled in the world and its cycles of pleasure and pain.
When you cultivate detachment, you can go inside and undertake a journey to a state of awareness untouched by the ups and downs of existence. You shift your identity away from the insecure, isolated ego-personality. Instead, you rely on something society never teaches you—that consciousness and existence are united. In this union, life becomes simple yet perfected because, despite all our endless activity, being fully conscious achieves bliss, freedom from fear, and access to the field of infinite possibilities.
I hope these resets will be taken to heart. Each one requires a conscious choice, and the last reset, seeking detachment, demands a committed inner journey. But there is immense potential in every moment of life, including the moments we will share after the pandemic is far away in the rear-view mirror.
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