I don’t know about you folks, but things are looking pretty nutty out there, at least from my perspective. It seems difficult to make sense of the rapid pace of change occuring these days. Many people are challenged on many fronts: financially, physically, emotionally, spiritually. Things are happening fast and change is coming quick. Your cable news channel says it all, if you believe what they say is true.
It’s hard not to fall prey to anxiety, fear, and overwhelm. It can often feel like you’re being swept up by the crazy broom. And that’s not good for your mental health.
How do you keep your head about you when it seems everyone else is losing theirs?Here’s a little guidance to staying sane in a mad, mad, mad world.
- Take care of your physical health. It’s pretty much the basis of everything. Eating right, exercise, getting enough sleep, we forget that these are the essentials. The shape you are in will affect your brain chemistry, for better or worse. I know, you’ve heard it all before, but it bears repeating, constantly.
- Learn to quiet your mind. The mind, like the body, needs periods of rest. Your mind’s job is to think, but you are much more than your mind. Learn how to turn if off. Practice being present to your life. If your thoughts are always in the future, or in the past, your life will pass you by and on your death bed you will ask “Where did it all go?” It was there all along, you just never noticed.
- Spend time outside. We are the stuff of stars, literally, and we are intimately connected with nature and the cosmos. Lose that connection and you lose an essential part of yourself. Unfortunately, most people have lost it and don’t even know it’s missing but feel the loss nevertheless. Keep in mind that as a modern culture, a lifestyle spent mostly indoors constitutes a very short period of human history.
- Deal with what’s real. Nothing creates insanity quicker than wanting what is to be different than what it is. There needs to be some acceptance. If you can change it, do so. If you can’t, well, deal with it. Hating on the traffic, the weather, or how stupid people can be is like trying to teach a pig to sing. It drives you crazy and just annoys the pig.
- Don’t compare yourself with others. Compare and despair. My wife and I stayed at a couple’s beautifully decorated house a few months ago. We envied the custom wood floors, stylish furniture and nice cars. We recently found out they’re getting a divorce, he changed the locks while she was out of town. I don’t envy them anymore. You have your path, and for the most part, you chose it. Honor it and bless whatever good is there. You simply don’t know what’s up with others or what challenges they have in spite of how good they look. For all you may know, they envy you.
- Evaluate what is working in your life and what is not. Take a step back once in a while and check in with yourself, do a little self reflection. Are you heading in the direction you want to go? Is what you’re doing or involved in worth the time and trouble invested? Are you happy doing it? We’ve all heard the definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. If it’s not working, change your approach, or throw it out and cut your losses. This is your precious life, man.
- Keep moving forward. Don’t let yourself get mired in the past. Let it go. Remain hopeful that your life will get better, that you can make it better. Release regret and resentment. Forgive yourself and others. Keep learning and expanding your horizons so that you continue to grow. Come up with a firm description of the self you most want to be and keep working towards it. It’s never too late to make a better you.
- Develop and nurture personal relationships. No man is an island. We are social animals. Community and interaction with others is a basic human need. Share your travails with others and let them support you so you can do the same for them. Isolation breeds brain rats that will chew on your humanity. Open the door and let people in.
- Keep money in the proper perspective. Money does grow on trees; money is trees, isn’t it? Money is green paper. It’s not the most important thing, but it is important as a representation of value in our culture. Don’t let the value of your money be a substitute for your own value. Don’t use money as a way to soothe yourself, that’s a great way to get deep into debt, which some studies have linked to mental illness. Work on your relationship with money as well as your financial literacy. Remember, money can’t buy happiness, it can only rent it for a while until the landlord wants you out.
- Learn to love yourself. You don’t need reasons, but find some anyway. Might be the hardest thing you’ll ever learn. Learn it anyway. Be good to yourself, be your own best friend. All you need is love, and if you have it for yourself, you can give away a never ending supply.
- Find meaning for your existence. Who are you, aside from your “life situation”? Where did you come from? Why are you here? You create what your life means. Make it mean something really awesome. Why not? It’s all invented anyway. Find a philosophy or belief system that works for you. It may not be the truth, but it’s a powerful place to stand.
- Learn to give. Stop thinking so much about yourself and your problems. At my most down and out, no money in my pocket and no prospects for any, I still had more than 75% of the world’s population. Donate time, money or resources to those who can use it. I have a soft spot for any charity that supports children. What or who calls to you?
- Ask for help. Nobody does it alone. You are no exception. It’s possible to get in so deep that you can’t see the forest through the trees. Get a guide. Give someone the chance to contribute to you. Be humble. Trying to do it alone is just, you know, crazy.
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Your companion on the journey to transformation,
TManTed A. Moreno Personal/Small Business Coach Certified Hypnotherapist www.TedMoreno.com
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