Yo Joan! What to do when the world seems to be going batty

Not only is listening to constant news addictive but it can create a sense of helplessness as to what to do to help bring some sanity into all the craziness. The problems are massive, and combine this with a sense of fear that the craziness (which is violence) easily could spread to home base. So where does one start?

I’ve got some ideas on how to handle these significant problems and welcome hearing your ideas, too.

1. Have an emotional catharsis

Mental illness is a big subject these days and certainly not one to be taken lightly. For those of us not yet ready to be put into straightjackets, I’ve got a suggestion that Gestalt therapists have been using for decades – SCREAM! Go into a large open field somewhere far away from mankind and yell to the skies. I wouldn’t recommend doing this in your home because neighbors, as great as they may be, may not understand the therapeutic value (even though they’ve probably had more than a few meltdowns themselves). Try not to direct your overactive vocal cords at a person or pet. If this has happened, apology quickly. You’re better than that. And certainly that living being you’re screaming at is, too.

2. Focus on breath

Try Box Breathing:

4 count exhale.

4 count hold breath.

4 count inhale.

4 count hold breath.

Consciously relax your facial muscles throughout, particularly when holding the breath.

Box Breathing comes out of Vedic literature from India about 1500 BCE. It was noted then and now as an effective way to reduce anxiety and focus the mind. Navy Seals training calls this “tactical breathing.” It’s taught as a way to be calm and focused in combat.

3. Get involved in social services.

Ask your church how you can help better the problems that concern you locally and/or globally. If it doesn’t have something that addresses your concerns, maybe you can start a group yourself. You’re not alone. Rest assured there’s someone else worrying about the same problems you are.

Find an organization that already is doing what you want to do. Using Google can be an incredible way to get information on service organizations. If you don’t have transportation, there are ways to get involved and help from your living room.

4. Artistic expression

Paint, draw, sing, write, dance, crafts, yoga, tai chi. Find ways to express yourself that are safe and noncompetitive so as to allow your inner self to shine. Express yourself!

5. Escape to the Inner Himalayas

Meditate. This is a way to clear the mind so your creative ideas become more centered. Simply find a quiet corner somewhere to sit comfortably and focus on your breath. When competing thoughts or disturbances enter your mind, let these thoughts, these disturbances, exhale through your breath. Watch the simple movement of your precious breath. If chaos rules all around you, just a few simple breaths of complete focus can help you in determining the best way to move forward.

And we all want to move forward.

When Joan Budilovsky is not screaming in an open field somewhere, she can be reached at her website,