Feel like the world has gone crazy and is making you crazy as a result? If you look around and see nothing but a mess in politics, economics, the environment and everything else, you wouldn’t be wrong in thinking it’s all bonkers. Here’s how to keep your sanity in an insane world.
Sanity Starts With Sane Food
Surprisingly, to stay sane in an insane world, you need to focus on reclaiming your plate. A great deal of anxiety, stress and emotional issues originate from our food. We live in an age of chemical-laden, engineered, convenience-based, and nutritionally poor food that can more rightly be considered poison than food. When 62% of the food that we eat is processed and over 50% can be bought at 7-Eleven, we shouldn’t be surprised with the growing mental health epidemic around us.
Our heath – physical as well as mental – begins with our plate. If you aren’t eating real food, you’re not getting the nutrients your body needs to build up a strong nervous system. In fact, you’re probably eating foods that destroy your mental and emotional equilibrium.
The world is already stressful enough without us limiting our bodies’ mental and emotional facilities. To think clearly, react smartly to the world around you, and stay sane takes healthy, real food powering you. Anything less just adds to the insanity. Also, you can’t see your way out of the morass if your mind and emotions are fogged and triggered by junk and processed food. Real food helps to prevent both of these conditions.
The Media Is Not Your Friend, Teacher or Guru
The media is not there to deliver true, unbiased, and useful news or wholesome entertainment. It’s there to sell ads and make money. A more cynical person might say it’s mostly just propaganda to shape public opinion and societial values (most of which revolve around endless war and capitalism). For sure the news delivers an endless stream of fear, anxiety and stress-inducing coverage. Meanwhile entertainment steals away your life and primes you for hyper-consumerism. Very little of any of it helps you in your daily life or “keeps you informed”. What it does well is keep us distracted, scared, divided, polarized and angry. And that’s just for starters.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, online and print magazines feed us celebrity stories about the rich and famous, tout models and icons as role models – many of whom suffer drug and alcohol addictions, live highly material lives and contribute nothing to society but glamour. We’re told to idolize them and feel inferior if we’re not as rich, beautiful, successful, handsome, famous or popular as them. And yet these celebrities live insane lives and invariably wind up in jail, in rehab or admitted to the suicide and overdose hall of fame.
To stay sane, turn off the news and stop consuming fear, hate and glamour-based media. You are supporting this stuff every time you watch, click or listen. They get money and you get a dose of anxiety and lose precious moments of your life that could have been spent toward your own goals and dreams.
Focus On Real People
Want to stay sane in an insane world? Focus on the people around you like your friends, family and colleagues instead of being fearful or upset about people halfway around the world. Get to know your community. Travel to find out what the country and world is really like. You’ll find it’s a far cry from what the news and politicians want you to believe. It’s far saner too.
I’ve traveled across the US, been to over 20 countries, and have had countless international colleagues. This has taught me that people are the same the world over – the good, the bad, the wonderful and the weird. We’re members of one family – the human family. Don’t fall for the propaganda of the week that demonizes others. Instead, question the agenda behind those who are speaking fear.
Or better yet, stop consuming the fear porn that makes you hate and suspect your neighbor, let alone everyone else. Meet people. When you do and treat them like a prospective friend, strangely enough they act warmly to you and lose their fear as well. I find this time and time again – across race, class, and political divides.
Trust in the basic decency of the everyday person. They make up the 99% trying to stay sane in this insane world. They, like you, want peace, a meaningful life, good friends, and a happy family.
As Krisnamurti pointed out, it is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a fundamentally sick society. If you want to stay sane in an insane world, stop focusing on the increasingly bizarre external world and instead go inward to create an unshakeable refuge within yourself. For some this might mean getting in touch with their spiritual side.
We can all benefit by cultivating our inner self and the greater connection we all share with this beautiful existence. Who was it who said that the unexamined life is not worth living? When we start examining ourselves and the world, we stop consuming fear, hate, and glamour and we start tuning into our own show. We touch our true self and through that find an oasis of calm, peace and joy that nothing outside us can bring in a lasting way.
Prayer, meditation, nature – find your spiritual path and nourish it whatever it may be. You’ll gain immeasurably from just stopping and going on the inward journey.
Live Your Life
Classical texts talk about the madness of the world. They were saying it 2000 years ago and they’ll likely still be saying it 2000 years from now. The point is, the world has always been crazy. Stop the madness by not buying into the crazy. If you want to stay sane in an insane world, recognize that the path society tells you to lead is a crazy one. Instead, live the life you want for yourself and not the one others expect of you.
Live your life. You’ll be happier and freer for it. No matter what you do anyway, people will have opinions and advice so you might as well spend what time you have on this planet going after your dreams. Don’t get to the end of your life and look back on endless regrets. Look back with contentment and joy instead.
Putting Out the Fire
The world sometimes seem to be on fire – and our minds and emotions as well. To reclaim your sanity:
- Fortify yourself with real food and real nutrition. You’ll be limiting your capacity for stress and anxiety at the same time.
- Stop consuming fear and glamour media. When you consume that stuff, you’re providing a paycheck and license to those involved to keep producing their insanity. You’re also causing unnecessary stress in your own life and increasing your own insanity levels by buying into what’s being presented.
- Focus on real people, not hype and propaganda that keeps you fearing your neighbor and them fearing you. Travel, get to know your neighbors and communities. 99% of the world is trying to survive the crazy too!
- Go inward. Find your spirit, whether that takes the form of an organized faith or via meditation or nature. Your true self lies inside, not outside in this crazy world so don’t look outside for answers.
- Live YOUR life. Don’t take pointers from an insane world unless you want crazy results. Follow your dreams and build your own meaning. This is freedom from the insanity.
Do these things and your life will be less stressful, less unhappy, and less adrift. Instead, you’ll experience relief, freedom, equanimity, peace, meaning and real happiness. Who doesn’t want that?
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