Tossing and turning from the sweltering heat and the bright sun blasting a furnace of light through the windows, I hop out of my otherwise coży bed, make my way to the coffeemaker in the kitchen, and head to the dock to sip my wakeup juice. Alas, it’s so hot, I slip my bare legs into the water to cool the lower half of my body. When I’m done writing this (assuming I don’t drop my tablet into the drink), I’ll take a swim.

Though this has been the rainiest I can remember in three decades of summer life in the Adirondacks, the few warm summer days have been glorious and made up for the rain. Spare time has found me flat-out on the dock absorbing the sun’s rays, painting in my little wooden electric boat (though never enough), and sitting with a few visiting friends. And like all summers, all good things will come to an end. 

This week I’ll slip away, head to Austin to host my newest online art conference, and then make my way back for a few more glorious weeks. When I return my kids will be off to college, though they are understandably anxious because of the uncertainty in the world.

What about you?

Are you finding yourself anxious about the uncertainty of the world? 

Is fear entering your mind more than ever?

Yeah, me too. 

A wise man (my dad) once told me years ago a trick he used when he could not sleep because of worry.

“Get up, write down everything you find yourself worrying about, and then go through the list. Is there anything I can change tonight at 2 a.m.? If not, tell yourself you can’t impact it tonight, and that you need rest to deal with the issues well during daylight.”

I have used this for years and it’s very effective.

But what about worry in the daytime?

I find myself dealing with worry or anxiety by asking myself these questions…

What’s the worst that can happen?

Is there anything I can do to change the outcome, and if so, what specifically can I do?

Sometimes asking ourselves simple questions gives us very clear answers.

The worst that can happen is that I’ll die and my family will have to get along without me.

What can I do about that?

In that case my anxiety stems from being ready to die. Though we are never ready, for me it’s about my faith and my belief that I’m ready from that perspective. And, as far as my family goes, I have to make sure I’ve got my affairs in order, my will written or updated, and hopefully enough savings or investments or insurance to get my wife and kids through it.

Knowing these things are handled would give me great peace of mind. The things unsettled give me anxiety, and motivation to get them done so the anxiety stops. 

What about you?

What’s the worst that can happen?

What do you need to do to make sure you are prepared for the worst?

What things remain that are causing anxiety?

The other thing I have to ask myself is, what can I change? 

Can I change the pandemic or the government response? In my case, no. So rather than getting worked up about it, I ask myself, what can I change related to that issue? Then I need to do those things.

The simple act of these questions, changing what I can, and stopping stressing about what I cannot change, has given me tremendous peace. Therefore these things don’t bug me like they bug others.

Make Up Your Mind!

Mindset also plays a critical role. I’ve told myself I refuse to allow this to ruin my life, my relationships, or my mental or physical health.

Would I regret spending the last year of my life in a twisted, worried anxiety state? Would I rather be calm and living the highest quality I can under the circumstances?

Being Mentally Ready

My gut tells me things are going to get worse before they get better. My instincts tell me that with all the things going on in the world (fires, floods, protests, riots, etc.) that it’s not just the pandemic I could be worrying about. But my mindset is very calm, and I won’t move into fight-or-flight stress until it has a direct impact. Even then, being calm in the midst of a storm will serve you and me well.

Do we want to deal with any of it? Of course not. But we all deal with the cards we’re dealt. Until then, we can be ready for the worst, prepared in any area we can control. After that, we can either go down the road of stress and anxiety or the road of peace. 

Which road will you choose?

If this were your last month on earth, how would you want to live it? How do you want to interact with your family? What example do you want to share with them?

Choose wisely.

Eric Rhoads

PS: Is it possible for you to find things that give you peace and offer you a chance to be creative? Many of my friends are bound up in work-related stress. Recently I asked one of my friends, “How do you get away from it? What hobbies do you have?” His answer was that he could not get away and he had none.

When I recommended he take up painting, he said, “Sounds fun, but I don’t have what it takes. I was not born with an art gene.”

I’m spending my life helping people understand that there is no art gene required, and that if you can follow a mac-and-cheese recipe on a box, I can teach you the process of painting. Many don’t believe me, and others don’t believe me — but try, and are happily pleased they listened.

Some types of art are harder to learn than others. But when we were kids, most of us played with crayons. What if I could introduce you to adult crayons? Something you can use to create beauty, based on what you were familiar with as a kid?

Pastel is very sophisticated and very beautiful, but we work it like crayons. I have a Beginner’s Cay this Wednesday teaching pastel before my 3-day Pastel Live online event. Just taking the Beginner’s Day could change your life and help you lose your stress. And if you’re thinking that it’s not worth the risk, I offer a full money back guarantee. If you watch the first day and don’t think it’s for you, you get all your money back and you get the day you watched for free. 

I hope you’ll check it out. The price increase is tonight at midnight.