Home » Blogs » Mindfulness and Psychotherapy » Finding a Balanced Mind and Heart in the Midst of a Tumultuous World

Finding a Balanced Mind and Heart in the Midst of a Tumultuous World

When your mind races, notice the story lines it's creating and remind yourself that thoughts aren't factsThere certainly is a whole lot of troubling and heart wrenching news in the world today and this current atmosphere can give our minds endless fuel to race, worry, and catastrophize. While many stories of adversity in the media spotlight are real, the stories in our minds that the world is going to hell in a hand basket may not be.

Our brains are designed to project into the future in an attempt to predict worst-case scenarios as this was crucial for the survival of our ancestors. However, in modern times it doesn’t do us any good to continue in a state of auto-pilot with a hyper-aroused nervous system, spreading worry and negativity throughout our social circles.

Spreading catastrophic stories through our social networks creates a contagion of emotional suffering.

We already get enough of that through the news. Mainstream media knows that our eyeballs fuse to the screen at signs of danger and it capitalizes on that in order to sell products featured in commercials. It’s a business, and the bottom line is making money by playing on our concerns.

Sadly, the media isn’t going to make a big fuss about the millions and millions of dollars invested into mindfulness and compassion research globally, or about the police officers who paid the check of a couple who refuse to sit next to them at a restaurant, or about the millions of people all over the world quietly working daily to be present to support people’s emotional needs.

But there’s a way to work with the negativity bias of the mind and the media and it’s beautifully simple – when your mind races, notice the story lines it’s creating and remind yourself that thoughts aren’t facts.

This doesn’t mean that we should be blind to the atrocities and problems of the world. On the contrary, it’s important to be aware so we can wake up enough to make the world a better place in whatever ways we can. In order to do this, we need to balance our nervous systems when it comes to challenges, and make choices about what we realistically can and can’t do about them.

If you’re impacted emotionally by world events (as many of us are), first recognize the difficulty of it all – this step can help you “wake up.” Then practice self-compassion to soothe your own nervous system and bring clarity on what the next wise action can be. If you feel pulled, practice compassion – get involved in a way that betters the world if you can. For example, getting on the internet to research ways to support a case that’s meaningful to you is an action of compassion.

To me, the serenity prayer – grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference – helps me to wake up and focus on what matters.

Mindfulness helps create space for us to take action for a better world. Getting space from our stories is a practice – one that’s really worthwhile investing in.


Elisha Goldstein

Creator of six-month online mentorship program, A Course in Mindful Living
Author of Uncovering Happiness: Overcoming Depression with Mindfulness and Self-Compassion


Finding a Balanced Mind and Heart in the Midst of a Tumultuous World

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is creator of the six month online program A Course in Mindful Living, author of the book Uncovering Happiness: Overcoming Depression with Mindfulness and Self-Compassion, The Now Effect, co-author of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of Mindfulness Meditations for the Anxious Traveler: Quick Exercises to Calm Your Mind, the premier eCourse Basics of Mindfulness Meditation: A 28 Day Program, the Mindful Solutions audio series, and the Mindfulness at Work™ program currently being adopted in multiple multinational corporations. Join The Now Effect Community for free Daily Now Moments and a Weekly Newsletter. Dr. Goldstein is a clinical psychologist in private practice in West Los Angeles.

2 comments: View Comments / Leave a Comment



APA Reference
Goldstein, E. (2018). Finding a Balanced Mind and Heart in the Midst of a Tumultuous World. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 28, 2020, from


Last updated: 10 Apr 2018
Statement of review: Psych Central does not review the content that appears in our blog network ( prior to publication. All opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the author alone, and do not reflect the views of the editorial staff or management of Psych Central. Published on All rights reserved.