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BellaOnline's Stress Management Editor


Tsunami Lesson – How to Deal With Life’s Setbacks

The New Year always begins with good intentions: resolutions filled with dramatic goals, bright, fresh new beginnings and promises to finally release past hurts and grudges. Although I am no psychic, I can predict that next year we will begin the process again with these very same noble intentions. However, this year instead of making New Year’s Resolutions, try making New Year’s Evolutions: Small manageable changes that have no time limit and get implemented because we are motivated by how much better they make us feel about ourselves. 2005 is different from all other years. We will work on ourselves to feel better, live better and love better. The process began when a powerful natural force, a Tsunami, inundated and washed away thousands of lives and homes in the Eastern part of the world.

When the Tsunami hit, we in the West realized how connected we were, how much we cared about people whose faces we did not recognize, whose names we did not know. First, we empathized with the plight of the victims and then we took compassion to the next logical level: decisive action to help. A tidal wave in a distant part of the world set off compassionate after shocks in our part of the world reminding us of our similarities instead of our differences.

While we celebrated the arrival of the New Year, we also remembered and honored those innocent victims who were swept away. Why did some who could not even swim survive while others who were more powerful drowned? The meaning of opposing forces, death and rebirth, reached a crescendo on New Year’s Day. We have no choice but to accept the devastation, to learn from it and move forward to rebuild. One cannot accuse or blame an earth quake. We have to prepare and implement better warning systems. We have to do all that we can now to arrest disease and contamination as we bring humanitarian relief to devastated countries. That’s a good parallel lesson for us to learn when we get hit by an emotional tidal wave in our personal lives.

  • What have I learned from this painful situation?
  • Release your sense of judgment- there is nothing to judge, only to accept.
  • Can you let go of what you resent doing in your life?
  • Do you swim against the current exhausting yourself and getting no where or can you flow to where your heart leads you?
  • Are you drowning in distractions, so busy and filled with responsibilities that you are not taking the time to breathe or enjoy your life?
  • Do you remember what makes your heart sing?
The answer to all these questions is: Learn to view your life differently, so that you feel fulfilled, confident and happy in the way you interact with others.
Debbie Mandel, MA is the author of Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul, a stress-reduction specialist, motivational speaker, and a personal trainer. She is the host of the weekly Turn On Your Inner Light Show on WGBB 1240AM in New York City , produces a weekly wellness newsletter, and has been featured on radio/ TV and print media. To learn more visit:

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Content copyright © 2018 by Debbie Mandel. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Debbie Mandel. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Debbie Mandel for details.


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