It seems a bit tiring, doesn’t it? The fear. The uncertainty. The volatility. Today it is Brexit. Tomorrow it will be something else.
This is not only echoed in the media that we read and watch but also in the everyday issues that we face. How important are these everyday issues really?
Ask yourself this question: will it matter a week from now? A month from now? A year from now?
Once in a great while an issue may well be that important. But, for the vast majority of the time, it simply isn’t.
This is a hard and important lesson for me to learn.
Scott Barlow, writing about Brexit in the Globe and Mail, captured the essence of the discussion that I had with Lorraine this morning:
For what it’s worth, my central thought this morning is this: Brexit, Donald Trump and rise of nationalism in the west is the result of the economic elites abrogating their responsibility to spread the wealth from globalization and technology and it’s made people angry and frustrated enough to look for scapegoats in the form of immigrants and vote against their own economic interest just to punish those in charge.
Sometimes we’re looking too far ahead and we begin to worry about how we are going to get there while other days we’re creating too much stress by saying yes, too often. We find our plates completely full. Whatever the reason, we’ve got to slow down and breathe.
Too many commitments and not enough time. It does come about by saying yes too often. Looking out to the future can create dissonance by making the current journey out of step with that vision of the future.
I really struggle with patience which is another way of saying that I find it very challenging to slow down. My personality is such that I expect to get everything that needs to be done in a day, well, done. If life throws a curveball, then I react poorly. I get angry, frustrated and guilty. All at the same time.
I have been experiencing an extended period of stress over the past few months. In looking at the literature, there are a number of things that can help manage and reduce stress. I need to incorporate a few of them into my daily life. This list comes from the Canadian Mental Health Association:
There is no one right way to deal with stress. The tips below are common strategies that are helpful for many people. Try them out and see what works best for you. Remember to look at both short-term and long-term solutions when you’re dealing with stress.
Identify the problem. Is your job, school, a relationship with someone, or worries about money causing stress? Are unimportant, surface problems hiding deeper problems? Once you know what the real problem is, you can do something about it.
Solve problems as they come up. What can you do, and what are the possible outcomes? Would that be better or worse than doing nothing? Remember, sometimes solving a problem means doing the best you can—even if it isn’t perfect—or asking for help. Once you’ve decided on a solution, divide the steps into manageable pieces and work on one piece at a time. Improving your problem-solving skills is a long-term strategy that can help you feel like you’re in control again.
Talk about your problems. You may find it helpful to talk about your stress. Loved ones may not realize that you’re having a hard time. Once they understand, they may be able to help in two different ways. First, they can just listen—simply expressing your feelings can help a lot. Second, they may have ideas to help you solve or deal with your problems. If you need to talk with someone outside your own circle of loved ones, your family doctor may be able to refer you to a counsellor, or you may have access to one through your school, workplace, or faith community.
Simplify your life. Stress can come up when there are too many things going on. Learning to say no is a real skill that takes practice. Try to look for ways to make your to-do list more manageable.
Learn helpful thinking strategies. The way you think about situations affects the way you respond to them. Unhelpful thoughts, such as believing that everything must be perfect or expecting the worst possible outcome, can make problems seem bigger than they really are.
Learn about stress management. There are many useful books, websites, and courses to help you cope with stress. There are also counsellors who specialize in stress. There may be stress management courses and workshops available through your community centre, workplace, or school.
Start on the inside. Practices like yoga, meditation, mindfulness, prayer, or breathing exercises can help you quiet your mind and look at problems from a calmer, more balanced point of view. With time, these practices can help you manage your response to stressful situations as they come up.
Get active. Physical activity can be a great way to reduce stress and improve your mood. Activity could be anything from taking up a new sport to walking. The most important part is that it gets you moving and you enjoy it—it shouldn’t feel like a chore. If you experience barriers to physical activity, try talking to your doctor or care team for ideas.
Do something you enjoy. Making time for hobbies, sports, or activities that you find fun or make you laugh can temporarily give you a break from problems. Listen to music, read, go for a walk, see a friend, watch your favourite movie, or do whatever makes you feel good. This can give you a little mental distance from problems when you can’t deal with them right away.
The Brookfield Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship sent me a copy of their latest report on the impact of automation on Canadian jobs.
The report, entitled The Talented Mr. Robot: The Impact of Automation on Canada’s Workplace, attempts to look at the Canadian job market over the next 10 to 20 years:
The report indicates that nearly 42 per cent of the Canadian labour force is at a high risk of being affected by automation – the replacement of workers by technology and computerization – in the future. For years, automation has been restricted to routine, manual tasks. The more recent rise of artificial intelligence and advanced robotics means that automation is now entering the realm of cognitive, non-routine tasks and occupations…
I suspect the transition to fewer jobs for highly skilled people may not end all that well. We are already starting to see what happens when a large part of the population becomes marginalized in terms of employment opportunities.
As I get older, I become more and more convinced that we each have a purpose in life. We have our own yellow brick road. A path we follow on our journey of life.
There is joy, there is sadness, there are forks in the road. And sometimes there are roadblocks, challenges that force us to think differently about our lives.
And yet there really is no choice but to follow the yellow brick road.
My wife gave me a calendar as a gift this year, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff.
I keep it at work. And I read it every workday. I catch up on the dates I have missed whenever I am away from the office.
There is a surprising amount of wisdom in this calendar. Today’s thought in particular:
Which is wiser, optimism or pessimism? Optimists understand that no one has a crystal ball and that no one can accurately predict the future. Along these lines, they know that although pessimists feel confident that things won’t work out, they are only guessing and assuming that this is true. Optimists believe that, because no one really knows what’s going to happen, it’s far wiser and makes for a more pleasant and joyful experience if one is optimistic, if one assumes the best.
If your energy is primarily negative, if you continually look for flaws, problems and verification that life is essentially bad, then where will the bulk of your energy lie?
I brought this home on Saturday. I even got it up the driveway.
A Dutch Star 4002 diesel pusher.
As we come to the end of our Disney Caribbean Cruise, we enjoyed one more day at sea before we made Port Canaveral.
This was our stateroom for the week.
Lorraine on the grand entrance staircase of the main lobby of the Fantasy.
On deck heading towards the Animator’s Palate restaurant.
One of the details in the main elevator area. Mickey can be found everywhere on this ship.
A couple of views of the main lobby of the Disney Fantasy.
One of the hallways that runs off the main lobby area.
The head table at the Royal Court restaurant. Sadly, we were not seated here.
Artwork was abundant throughout the ship.
The main elevator area for the Cabanas restaurant topside.
Shopping area of the ship.
Lounge chairs on the deck.
Every evening we had a different figure on our bed.
It was a bit more challenging to get a couple’s shot with my camera when we were at dinner so two singles will have to do. We had an amazing time together on this Caribbean cruise. So many great memories.