5 ways to stay sane as a cybersecurity professional

I’m about to go on vacation, so I’d like to take a moment to consider the human side of cybersecurity. I’ve read too many articles lately about burnout in cybersecurity and how our profession is on the same level as emergency responders in terms of stress that impacts personal health. This isn’t going to be another article about how stressful things are, instead, I’ll share some helpful suggestions that may not be commonly talked about.

Recently, I’ve started on a journey of practicing nonviolence, using resources from The Metta Center for Nonviolence as a starting point. I have found real benefit in my life, and I hope that the Center’s resources can help you, as well.

Slow down your thinking

An Israeli veteran once told me, “Don’t run unless you’re being shot at.” At first, I thought he meant to take things easily unless there was a stressful situation. He said, “No. It’s literal. Unless you’re being directly shot at, don’t make any sudden moves or decisions. Always take time to think about what you’re doing.”

There are so many things that demand our attention that don’t have a right to do so. Advertisements, Facebook arguments, internet clickbait – we don’t owe them any attention. Better still, if we take time to think, we also make ourselves more secure. So much of social engineering depends upon creating a sense of urgency to get us to make a bad decision. If we make a habit of slowing down our thinking, of not running unless bullets are flying toward us, we put our minds in a more peaceful place that’s better able to cope with the stresses of our profession.

Take regular breaks from news, politics, and social media

News programs, politicians, and social media outlets all skew communications towards sensationalism. Not to say that everything from those sources is controversial, but they all know that they can get more eyeballs and resultant ad revenue or donations from playing up confrontation.

I have many friends that I don’t agree with, who I also don’t argue with. I know that I can talk with people face to face and respectfully disagree with them. So why would I want to immerse myself in environments where the argument is everything and everyone is made out to be either with someone or against someone?

Consider taking a week or two and just not partaking of those sources of information. You’ll still be aware of what’s going on, don’t worry. And because you’re not being bombarded with controversy, you’ll certainly worry less than before.

Take time to meditate

I was skeptical of this at first, but it’s real. It’s not necessarily a religious practice if you don’t want it to be. But it is certainly a spiritual practice in that it allows calm to pervade your body and mind. It’s as simple as finding a passage with an uplifting spirit and real meaning and repeating it in your mind, slowly. Do it for 10 minutes to start with, then grow that time as you learn more about the benefits of the practice. I recommend the free resources from Blue Mountain Center of Meditation for this point.

Read about peace

There are many stories about peacemakers that simply don’t drive ad revenue, so they don’t get featured. The good news is that one can seek them out rather easily online. I recently read a biography of Gandhi and persons he inspired and that led me to read more about people who made a difference in building peace, starting with themselves. There are stories about people who ended wars as well as those who took care of their sick neighbor’s yard and all of them give me hope and comfort that though the work may be hard, it is worth doing and I am capable of doing that work.

Choose your own adventure

Ultimately, we decide our own fates. Do we want to be miserable? There is a great tutorial on that on YouTube: “7 Ways to Maximize Misery.” On top of those recommendations, constantly worry about things that haven’t happened yet. Create a horror movie in your mind about the world and play it on repeat. You will be miserable.

Do you want to be more peaceful? Start with deciding to stop inventing worries in your mind about things that haven’t happened. They might happen, yes, but they haven’t happened, so don’t create a horror story in your mind about them. Clear your mind and realize that finding peace and calm is possible. We are able to do positive things that allow us to better cope with stresses in our lives. The stresses won’t go away, but our reactions to them can be different – and better – than what they are now.

Gandhi said, “There is no path to peace. Peace is the path.” No matter where you are on the path of peace, there is a hopeful journey ahead, and that’s the honest truth.

How PAM Can Protect Feds From Third Party/Service Account Cyber Attacks

How PAM Can Protect Feds From Third Party/Service Account Cyber Attacks

Share This