5 Ways to Thrive in Dark Days

The suggestions on this list are in no particular order. Do them all or do just one. But at the very least, do something. One of the effects of stress and overwhelm is inertia. The best way to get out of a funk is to begin, no matter how small the first step. Once you begin, you remind yourself of your agency and power and our creativity grows.

As Buddha is quoted to have said, "Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle. Happiness never decreases by being shared". To thrive in dark days, start by lighting one candle and watch the light spread in your life and the lives of those you care about.

Photo by Courtnie Tosana on Unsplash

Go outside. If it's rainy, sunny, windy, or hailing, go outside. Sit on your front stoop, walk around the block, wander in the woods, or dip your feet in a river. Feel the gentle Earth beneath your feet and the feet of all human beings. Notice the trees. Bend down and notice the low-growing plants, the pebbles and ants. Apprentice yourself to the teacher that is Nature and listen to her lessons. Try to learn as much from her as you can in your time.

Move your body. Your body is an intelligent creature. It is nudging you to move all day long. Learn to listen to it; ask it where it aches or where is yearns to stretch. And then do not hesitate: move. Move like you love your body. Dance to music because you can. Feel the tension of your mind leave you as you sweat. Allow the emotions you are physically carrying to shake out of your nervous system. Honor your body with movement and your body will repay the favor with a deep sense of relaxation.

Pray. To pray is to consciously connect with that which you consider sacred. There is no wrong way to do it. Some people meditate, some people sing, and some people get down on their knees and bow their heads. No matter how you do it, speak the questions of your heart to the universe. Lay those heavy questions down in the gentle arms of something wiser than you. Then listen.

Befriend your emotions. When you are feeling something intense, tune in and notice. When you are feeling nothing, do the same. Noticing the fluctuations in your emotions on a daily basis will help you identify them and help you understand their quixotic nature. Ask your emotion what it is trying to tell you. Trace it back to its root: where did it come from, what purpose is it serving? Name your emotion to tame your emotion. Do not repress, but give your emotion the freedom to express itself fully, thank it, and then let it go.

Take inspired action. Every time we listen to and act on our inner voice, it grows stronger. And as it grows stronger, it grows more creative and intelligent as well. When you listen to your inner guidance, you are telling it: I am here, I am listening, I am awake, use me! The more you practice this, the more integrated your actions become with your intentions. Marry your actions with your intentions, and watch your impact on the world become more potent.

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