Have you ever taken a cue from the ostrich to bury your head in the sand? Today that’s exactly what I’m doing. No TV news, no phone news feed alerting me of the political scene that is such a quagmire, no discussion with others on the latest atrocity that has happened in the world.
I’ve reached my limit. I feel helpless. I’m the type that likes to work toward change. If there’s an injustice, I want to help set it straight. If someone is rude, I want to hit them with all the kindness I have to help them see that rude is not the way to change the world.
I’m a writer and coach on happiness and getting the most out of every day. Today, I feel that the media and well-meaning people discussing the latest news alerts, have taken a chunk out of my outlook that’s normally rosy and positive. I’ve reached my limit. Today, I can’t take it.
I’m setting out on working the magic that will help my mood, my gloomy outlook, and helpless feeling to lighten a bit.
My first and easiest action step is turning off all news, newsfeeds, and discussions on anything other than good stuff. There’s lots of good stuff happening every day. People are being kind, helping others, giving generously, and caring. I’m going to seek out those stories, or at least remember a few and review them in my head, instead of the other stories that have led to feeling like helpless crap today.
Second strategy is, making banana bread. OK, I know banana bread is not a formula for feeling better. But what it will do is set my brain on thinking about something else. The Huffington Post backs me up with this article on “The Very Real Psychological Benefits of Cooking,” stating that cooking is a form of self-care.
People in my household LOVE banana bread so making this is an act of doing something for someone else. There’s no better way to get your mind off of how you feel than thinking and doing something for someone else. I actually have a list of things to do when I get in a funk. Do you?
Here are some examples: Finding recipes then cooking good healthy food, riding my bike, sitting on my beautiful deck, reading a good book. Sometimes I watch YouTube videos on funny things animals do. Since I’m an animal lover, that’s a good one! What would you add to this list for yourself?
Then, I think I’ll write a little about what I’m grateful for. Now this could take a while. When I think or write about this, I experience a shift right in my brain. I start to go down a different neuron path.
Did you know that writing something down with pen and paper can increase neural activity in certain parts of the brain, just like meditation? Barbara Bash wrote an article that talks about how writing can bring you into the present where we can experience joy.
Writing about how my heart is grateful is a neuron path that lifts my heart and shifts how I see everything in my world. Top of the list is my husband. He’s kind and funny, talented and loving. I’ve been married twice before. It took me this long to find real love and settle into this relationship I only dreamed about having.
The road to get here has been full of pain and struggle. I’m here though, and just reminding myself of him at the top of the list, has already brought my heart up a notch. Is there someone in your life that is like this for you?
It could be a grandchild, a neighbor, or a friend. If not, continue to nurture and value the relationships you have. Maybe finding more friends could be your priority as this year plays out. The top of your grateful list can be your pet or your comfy home. Whatever it is, remind yourself of it.
One last thing I’ll do this afternoon, is take a nap. I need to calm down inside. The frustration that comes from present world situations has me worked up. When laying down in my comfy spot with my cat curled up beside me, I’ve found that reviewing something that I’m happy about is a good way to calm my internal thoughts.
Twenty-minute naps can be very good for you! To calm myself down for a nap, I can walk through my tiny condo on the sea, in my mind… room by room. I take note of the wall color, the furnishings, the artwork. I can picture this so clearly, it’s as if I’ve taken a flight there and stepped into the condo.
This settles my mind and helps me calm for a nap. Have you ever tried imagining a place so clearly that you feel you are there? My husband and I are planning a trip out of the country. We have watched so many travel videos to this spot, I’m convinced I will feel right at home when we finally get to go.
Sometimes, I walk through the shops and streets of the major town we will visit. I’ve not been there yet, but my mind can focus on what I believe it will be like, and my emotions jump to a better place. These content thoughts help me start to get sleepy!
This is my “head in the sand” strategy for today. Tomorrow, I may feel ready to face the news again, we’ll see. Oh, and by the way, ostriches do not stick their heads in the sand. This is a common metaphor for someone avoiding their problems. Just for today, that’s what I’m doing.
What will you do today if you are in media overload? What action steps would lighten the day? Can you tune out the TV or stop searching your phone for news? Please share your strategies!