How To Stay Sane In An Insane World
The point of a mindfulness or meditation practice is not to escape the world, but to cultivate the inner resources necessary for staying sane in an otherwise insane world. While we cannot control the world around us, we are in control of how we respond to it. We can either react or respond out of fear, or we can find a way to meet the world, in whatever state it is, from a place of peaceful, objective observation. The following are several ways in which we can support ourselves in staying sane in an insane world:
SEE ALSO: Don’t Overthink Love
Cultivate a Regular Meditation Practice
Research shows that a regular mindfulness or meditation practice calms the anxiety centers of the brain while activating the pleasure centers. Maintaining a regular meditation practice over a long period of time supports the development of witness consciousness along with resiliency. Meditation supports us in the ability to be present within a stressful experience without being carried away by it. We are able to observe without reaction and choose a rational, non-emotional response.
Yoga, Tai Chi, Chi Qong, Pilates, Dance, Running, and any other movement-oriented practice provides similar benefits to mindful meditation. These movement practices provide a space in which we can release negative feelings or emotions while helping to cultivate a focused and clear mind.
Stay in Your Lane
In a culture that conditions co-dependency, it is easy to become tempted to take on the stress, anxiety, chaos or difficulties of others. This is further compounded in those who possess the gift of spiritual empathy. With the gift of empathy, we are able to feel other people’s anxiety and distress and naturally want to help them be freed of this.
If we want to stay sane when the world around us is in chaos, it is critical to stay in our own lane – to know what is ours and what belongs to someone else. It is not our job to fix or save other people or their problems. We have enough to do just taking care of ourselves. While we can be a source of loving support, we do not need to pick it up and carry it around. Furthermore, many of the problems in our world are not ours to fix. We can only do what is within our own skill set and within our own circle of influence. As such, we are invited to bloom where we are planted and stay in our own lane!
Radical Personal Accountability
Each and every human being is wounded and afraid. Broken systems arise out of broken people. If we want to see change in the world around us, we first have to change ourselves. Personal change begins by tending to our own unhealed wounds and the fears that are the cause of our own non-loving behaviors.
As we work toward healing our past wounds and tending to our own inner fears, the world within us begins to change. Anxiety is replaced with contentment. Fear with love. Deception or denial with truth. Betrayal with an increasing ability to trust our own inner judgment and to set boundaries accordingly. Hatred with compassion. Ignorance with knowledge and understanding. As we tend to our own inner world, we are better able to face the outside world from a place of compassionate detachment which then leads to acceptance and peace.
You are Not Alone
Connect with others of like-mind. Reach out to those in your meditation, yoga, or faith community who are also trying to stay sane in an insane world. Be a source of encouragement and support for each other. Learn from each other. Find your “tribe.” If you find this is not enough, there are professionals (yoga and meditation teachers, spiritual directors and counselors, ministers, etc.) who have learned how to stay sane in an otherwise insane world. Reach out to them for guidance and support.
If there is something you don’t like about our world, DO something about it. If you want more peace, then work for peace. If you see injustices being done, speak or act out against these injustices. Stay in your lane, but if your lane includes non-violent activism in working toward peace and justice in an otherwise unjust world, then, by all means, do it!
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