When you stay sane in a crazy world, you handle all situations better, improve your health and fitness, and maintain healthy relationships.
No matter how someone’s life looks like on the outside; we all at one time or another are dealing with our own stuff. There are times when we are busy beyond belief, a family member may be suffering, we may have our own health issues, or we’re just overwhelmed with the news we see all around us.
It does seem like the world is crazy at times.
Here are the seven practices I use to stay sane in a crazy world. Staying balanced and in tune with your body, mind, and spirit takes a commitment to taking care of yourself. By taking care of yourself in these ways, you create better physical and mental health.
I can’t say I feel sane 100% of the time—who does? But I’ve built some solid practices that I turn to again and again to help me stay sane in a crazy world. I just don’t write about practices I think “sound good.” I write about what works, day in and day out, over long periods of time.
For me, staying sane and balanced is feeling emotionally resilient, being strong and healthy, and getting what needs to be done, done.
Finding balance starts with the intention, belief, and commitment to feeling sane in the world no matter how crazy it seems.
At some level, you have to believe that something will work or at the very least go into it with an open and curious mind. Most of my successful practices require the belief that if I stick to it, I will feel better.
Skeptics and critics may cite the placebo effect. Perhaps there is some element to that? The brain is powerful. But in a way, isn’t this what we are seeking? We want our brain to make changes in our body based on belief. That is actually a GOOD thing. Getting our body and minds to heal naturally is way more beneficial than using actual medicine and drugs.
My intention with all I do, is to find peace and create positive energy in my body, mind, and spirit. When I feel balanced and sane; I do my best, not just for myself but for the other people who are in my life. This is when I do my best work, get my best ideas, and have the best flowing into my life.
Creating and allowing balance requires intention. You have to want that MORE than you want regrets, guilt, worry, anger, disappointment, resentment, and sadness.
Feelings are potent and important. It’s good to feel what you feel. However, with an intention to move beyond feelings, you become open to a powerful shift in your energy. For the record, I don’t make my best decisions when I’m anxious, worried, or mad. I don’t do my best work when I’m overcome with strong feelings.
I love the full expression of feelings, but my intent is always towards balance. It’s where I live my best, happiest, most productive life. It’s where good flows more easily to me.
I know it seems counter intuitive to commit to spending additional time on things that may seem like luxuries to some people. I do understand why it doesn’t seem to make sense at first glance. However, in my experience, by taking time for essential self-care practices, you free up additional time or you become more efficient with your time.
By caring for yourself this way, you are not adding on to an already busy day—you are actually creating breathing room.
Also, by committing, you give your practice time to work. We all know that exercise is good for us and helps us shape our bodies. We also know, that working out once a month is not going to get the job done. The same is true with any balancing practices; you have to commit to doing them regularly over a period of time.
You create true change in your life when you commit to taking care of your emotional, mental, and physical self. We are programmed from the get-go to take care of other people’s feelings before our own. That does make it difficult to wrap your mind around the absolute necessity of spending time on your own well-being.
However, do it now, or life will do it for you.
There are so many diseases and mental conditions that are all around us. You are most likely dealing with something yourself. I believe that when we ignore our body, our emotions, and our crazy thinking, we become more vulnerable to sickness and suffering.
I can’t say these practices will cure or prevent all sickness but I believe 100% that they will help you deal with whatever you are facing more effectively. By being sane in a crazy world, you let your body heal, you find time, you get solutions, and you just feel better more of the time.
By ignoring how stressed and out-of-whack you feel, you open yourself to illness, pain, and out-of-control emotions.
How I Stay Sane in a Crazy World
These are my top 7 ways I stay sane and balanced. Some of these are practices that I’ve used for years. Others are newer practices that I’ve found to be super effective. When I find myself out of whack or off-balance, I look into these areas first.
WRITE THINGS DOWN
With a lot of moving pieces to my life, I have to keep things written down. By hand, with a pen, and on paper. I’ve tried online methods but they don’t work for me. I write all my to-do things in an inexpensive composition book. I use one page per day. I write out what I want to get done. There’s plenty of room for notes, phone numbers, or the odd inspirational idea. It’s also easy to go back and find information if I need to.
I cross things off as I get them done. If I don’t get to something, it’s still there in writing that it needs to be done. Even if I’ve written down something I don’t want to do but I must do, I will eventually get to it. My “planner” feels like a friend and it honestly keeps me moving forward at a steady pace.
Get things out of your head and onto something that is in front of you.
I wrote about the power of making decisions a while back. I had no idea how powerful just making a decision could be. At the time, I had a few things going on in my mind that I just couldn’t figure out what to do about it.
I made a decision to—you know, DECIDE. I picked the one that was most worrisome and I just made the best decision I could with the information I had.
And that worrisome problem that had been bothering me for months—went away. My mind was at ease about that subject. Once I had decided what to do, and committed to doing it, my mind could let it go. It was on the calendar, paid for, and was going to happen. Looking towards the actual event was not even close to being as troublesome as not having the decision made!
But there were more decisions out there. I did the same with them. Honestly, I was blown away how powerful making and committing to an actual decision could be. This is probably one of the most helpful discoveries I’ve made for myself.
Eating well and having a fit body is not solely about aesthetic appeal. It’s because having a functionally fit body, is less stressful than worrying about extra pounds or not being able to get around.
I’ve written extensively about walking. It’s that big of a part of my life. When I hit my walking trail, something in my body immediately relaxes. Walking outside truly helps me keep my body in shape but it also helps my mind too.
I don’t practice gratitude because it’s the trendy thing to do. I do it because it calms my mind and shifts me into a place where I can think clearly and tap into my creativity.
My life moves at such a pace that it would be so easy to overlook the positive things that happen every day. Sometimes I’ll sit down to write about things I’m grateful for and I’ll be surprised at how many there are. I’ll even have forgotten a couple until I take the time to recollect the day before.
I actually have three gratitude practices. One just wasn’t enough!
Forgiving someone is the ultimate freedom. And sometimes the most difficult one to achieve. Yet, it is so worth it. It’s easy to get caught up in holding a grudge or being mad. Been there, done that, way too many times.
I’m not perfect at this but I actively practice forgiving and letting go. I believe in it so much, I enlisted a counselor colleague to create a forgiveness script and I produced a guided mediation to help with this.
The act of forgiveness is difficult to define. It sometimes feels impossible! However, by having the intention to forgive you create the environment for forgiveness to happen. Sometimes that is all you can do. But don’t minimize the importance of taking this step.
This guided meditation takes only five minutes to do. It’s one of the best five minutes you can spend to help yourself keep sane.
5 Minute Meditation for Forgiveness
Tapping or EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) as it is officially known is probably my most out-there practice. But I’ve been using it for a couple of years to manage anxious feelings and negative thinking.
EFT uses pressure points to help with physical and emotional issues like acupuncture does, but without any needles. It’s something that is easy to do at home and I find it immensely helpful in managing worry and anxiety especially.
There are many practitioners out there but for free access to quality tapping, I recommend Brad Yates. He has a YouTube channel and puts his work out there for free. He has tapping on just about any subject you can imagine.
I’ve bought a couple of books on the subject but I just can’t follow a written script. I need to have someone in front of me doing it, to follow along with.
WORK IN SMALLER CHUNKS
I wrote about this in a post called How to Get Unstuck in Life. I discovered this process when I was at my lowest point in life and felt that I couldn’t get anything done. Yet, I discovered that by committing just a few minutes a day to something that was important to me, not only did I get it done eventually, but I did it well.
Since that time, I’ve continued to use this method over and over with equally great results. I cannot even explain how powerful this is.
But I do know from many years of working with college students, that there is a tendency in humans to think if we can’t do something in a BIG way, we shouldn’t even bother.
That is so not right!
In fact, I have seen that thinking you can only do something if you can do it in a big way, create situations that are actually detrimental to the overall goal. When you bite off more than you can chew, you get overwhelmed, discouraged, and eventually give up.
By working in smaller do-able increments, you begin to achieve measurable results that in turn motivate you to keep making progress. Eventually those small steps create momentum and projects and goals you thought were impossible get done.
Stay Sane in a Crazy World
Staying balanced is a worthy goal. But it’s unrealistic to think you can feel like that 24/7. Aiming for feeling that way 80–90% of the time. You can do that! By taking care of yourself first, you handle all situations better, improve your health and fitness, and maintain healthy relationships.
And while I don’t have a practice around it, maintaining your sense of humor through everything really helps too. There truly are things that happen that are no laughing matter. But around those things, in life in general, there are things we can find to laugh about. And finding those things–helps keep us sane even when we’re dealing with the worst.
Keep showing up my friends!
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I'm a former counselor, career services leader, and college advisor. Now I coach and write at My Think Big Life promoting health and personal growth.