Monday, November 13, 2017

How to keep sane when the world is falling apart

Don’t watch or listen to the news. Read it once. This means your horror/despair at the state of the world is not renewed throughout the day.

Find something immediate, local and practical to do to make the world a better place. This should be something that suits your personality, your interests and your deepest concerns. Focus on this work.

Give money to the good causes that tear at your heart.

Write to your MP about your political concerns, even if your MP’s views are far removed from your own. (But this is a tricky one. Sometimes the satisfaction I feel after writing to my MP evaporates when I receive his complacent deflecting replies, and I feel even angrier than I did when I first wrote.)

Clear the dead leaves from a gully that’s blocked down the lane. See the water flow unimpeded and feel the satisfaction. It’s fun playing with water, and you have made a difference, if only minimal.

Watch Neighbours or some other mindless, harmless telly – twenty minutes a day. It takes you away from the real world and lets you unwind.

Listen to your favourite piece of calming music. 

Pick up litter.

Practise a skill you are trying to master.

Play with and talk to children. Their joie de vivre and innocence are refreshing, and inspire hope.

Indulge in bracing, aerobic exercise: release some endorphins!

Get out in the fresh air and under the sky for at least an hour every day, but more if possible. Associate with trees. They are calming and healing and strong and beautiful.

‘When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not difficult. Those are childish thoughts. . . . Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all.

….So the tree rustles in the evening, when we stand uneasy before our own childish thoughts: Trees have long thoughts, long-breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives than ours. They are wiser than we are, as long as we do not listen to them. But when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy. Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.’
Herman Hesse

photo by Isaac

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