The bombardment in Syria. Climate change. Poverty. Racial injustice. Corruption.
Make no mistake, there are problems in the world. Terrible, serious problems.
I bring these up not because I want you become more anxious and depressed.
I’m saying this because, as a living, feeling, and loving human being, you may be more aware of global problems than you realize. Your pervading feeling of dread, grief, or sorrow may not be an illness to be medicated away. It could be a calling from the earth itself; from no less than the human family to which you and I both belong.
Will you continue to let it eat you up? Or will you step up to play your part, whatever it might be?
I once attended the screening of a documentary by the Pachamamma Alliance – a partnership between westerners and Ecuadorian indigenous people. Their mission is to transform the most environmentally destructive activities on the planet.
It was an inspiring video. Afterwards, a woman I spoke to said: I’ve been in therapy for years, but I think I’ve just been tapping in to the pain of the planet being destroyed.
Could it be the same for you?
It’s hard to think about everything that’s wrong in the world – or even in your personal life. It’s overwhelming to realize that your actions may not be enough to create change.
But what I’ve found is that anxiety and overwhelm are rooted in trying to take in too much at once. Wanting to solve too many concerns RIGHT NOW. When the truth is, you can only attend to one thing at a time.
If the world is starting to become too much for your peace of mind, here’s what I recommend:
Pick one thing. One issue to focus on; then, pick one small part of that issue. And see if there’s something you can do about it. Something you’re good at. Participate. Be in action and at cause, instead of feeling helpless and paralyzed.
As a new mom, I am profoundly affected by the thought of babies in poverty and war. So I’ve made it a practice to donate small amounts to almost any charity who approaches me for help. I’ve stopped being embarrassed about giving “too little” – instead, I am grateful to be able to help, even just a little bit.
I may not save all the children, but maybe I can help a few.
If we all did our small part, how much good could we do?
Anxiety is pent-up energy. Release it into focused action. Let it go. Exhale. And repeat – one moment at a time.
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