Breathe, Make the Best of Things

There isn’t a lot of good news available these days. The pandemic is ramping up again in the US with COVID rates, particularly in the Southeast hitting some of the highest rates we’ve seen. This has taken the joy out of what is normally a celebratory back to school time of the year. So while people are still posting images of children heading to school in their next grade, there is also a lot of nervousness around safety, controversy around parental choice and the need for vaccine mandates.

Massive fires are burning not only in the US, but across the globe including whole Greek Islands on fire. The US is leaving Afghanistan, and many feared this would mean the Taliban would come back into power, but no one thought in would happen in a week and Kabul has fallen today. To top it all off the worst IPCC climate report ever released has just come out the same time as the month of July was named the hottest month in recorded history. The cherry on top, two hurricanes are going to hit Florida this week.

It’s easy to spend time on social media doom scrolling yourself into anxiety driven paralysis.

So often the simplest advice is the best, breathe, relax. Even though the world may seem like a total shitshow right now. It’s important to remember that you should primarily focus on what’s under your control. You can’t fix Afghanistan, or solve global warming on your own, you can’t stop the entire pandemic.

So control what you can control.

Nervous about COVID, get vaccinated, wear a mask, wash your hands frequently, minimize your social contacts and don’t put yourself in situations where you will be in enclosed spaces with a lot of people for an extended period of time. You can’t perfectly protect yourself but you can greatly reduce your chances of getting ill, and particularly from getting seriously ill if you follow these certain steps.

Limit your news, social media and doom scrolling. Remember, almost all social media algorithms amplify what you look at the most. So, for instance, over the last year I’ve made a point of each day sharing a couple of pretty pictures off photo sites on Facebook. As a result, my Facebook feed’s suggested posts are mostly pretty nature pictures, by doing things like that your timeline becomes a less stressful place. I’ve also unfriended anyone who adds to my stress on my timeline, yes, even family members.

On Instagram, you only get posts from who you follow, so don’t follow anyone who posts things that increase your anxiety in any way. Also, limit the time you just cruise videos through reels on Instagram, Tik Tok and You Tube. The algorithms track what you stop on, so when you’re on those sites only stop on things that make you happy and as soon as something goes the other way, move on.

On Twitter, anytime I read a post that triggers bad feelings I unfollow the person. If the post is from someone you don’t follow, but liked by someone you do, you can unfollow that person and it will help improve your feed. Also, over the last few months, I’ve been liking and following poetry and writing prompt posts, like the pretty pictures on Facebook this has turned my feed into 80% writing posts, much more enjoyable, far less doom and gloom.

Then of course, as I’ve mentioned many times before, when you feel out of sorts there is some Taoist philosophy I have always found to be profound. It simply says if you feel out of sorts, then return to the basics. Eat good food, get enough sleep, exercise, make sure you feel safe. Make sure the basics are solid and it’s easier to bring everything else in line and have happier days my friends. ~ Rev Kane

About Michael Kane

Michael Kane is a writer, photographer, educator, speaker, adventurer and a general sampler of life. His books on hiking and poetry are available in soft cover and Kindle on Amazon.
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2 Responses to Breathe, Make the Best of Things

  1. Kate Browne says:

    Thank you, oh minister of happiness. The basics do work- and remember the balance: of work & play, of talking & listening, breathing in & out.

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