Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Tuesday Tipday: How To Make The World Seem Less Horrible
There are times when it all gets to be too much. Even if your life is going pretty good, it can be difficult not to become obsessed with the screwy stuff going on around you. Anxiety about the state of things can lead to a host of physical and mental issues. Sometimes, a glass of wine at dinner just isn't enough.
Here are some tips to keep your brain from overloading on the deep and overwhelming problems of the world.
5 Ways To Make The World Feel Less Shitty
1) Stop paying attention, already: My first journalism class in college made us watch the news every night as homework. It wasn't long before the horrors of the mid-1990s were keeping me up at night. I simply knew too much. As soon as I finished that class I was done with the nightly news. It took me years to watch again on a regular basis. And you know what? You don't need to worry about not knowing enough, because the big stories will still get through. So give the constant CNN watching/political website reading/thrice daily major newspaper readings a break. Just long enough for your mind to stop spinning.
2) Focus your attention: No one person can do something about everything. Pick the stuff that most bothers you or that you feel you can work on the best and concentrate on helping with those issues. Volunteer at a food pantry. Raise money for homeless animals. Work at a non-profit that helps abused children. See? Don't you feel less scattered, angry and scared now?
3) Stop talking to her: Don't look at me like that, you know exactly who I mean! Anyone who's had more than one friend or close acquaintance in life recognizes The Negativity Queen. She doesn't just call to vent. She calls because her world is coming to an end and she needs your help. NOW. She calls after waking up from a drunken stupor and realizing her roommate shaved off all her vagina hair and she should probably move. With your help. In the next hour.
It doesn't even matter if she's making bad choices that lead to these catastrophes or if the bad just seems to follow her unassuming person around. Don't respond to the emails or return the calls for a bit. You've got stuff going on too, and there's nothing wrong with tending to your own business without someone else's drama clouding your mind. And yes, The Negativity Queen can be a guy. So, the next time you get a message from your buddy Frank about how his wife found out he cheated on him, threw his things into the driveway and set them on fire and he needs a place to crash; it's OK to pretend you're out of town.
4) Stress is for people named Ridge: I think there's a kernel in many of us that watches the news and goes, Crap. At least my life isn't that bad! The problem, of course, is that you're using another person's real misery to pump yourself up a little. I have a better idea, one that's helped me tremendously: Melodrama. A good soap opera or tear-jerker will give you the same result without actual lives being in ruins. Search for "soap opera death scenes", "soap opera fights" or "soap opera revelations" on Youtube. You'll feel better in no time.
5) Relax, worry gets you nowhere: I know, it's not easy to stop the crazy train once it gets going. That's how I had a panic attack in a grocery store parking lot after realizing I'd left my coupon book somewhere. But, if you can head the train off when you hear the gears starting up you'll be a lot better off. Have that wine. Watch a funny movie. Read a trashy magazine. Find what calms you and use it to stop the torrent of anxiety that's bubbling up. Sometimes the little things really can help.