Six Small Things You Can Do When You Feel Helpless & Hopeless

As humans it is easy for us to get trapped in thought patterns. We develop relationships with the way things are and what we’re used to, and then the physical characteristics of our environment start to reenforce our behavior. Changing your environment, even if it means inviting temporary discomfort, can effect those though patterns.

Obviously rearranging your pen cup is not going to turn an election or end the pandemic. But changing the relationship with how we move through life, and especially with how we process incoming information via our devices, can change our thinking. It can make it easier for us to see new ideas and opportunity where there previously seemed to be none. It can remind us that certain things are still within our area of influence, even if many other things are not.

If you are currently dealing with feelings of overwhelm and anxiety over how much in life feels completely out of your control, try a few of these small things:

  1. Change the lock screen and background on your phone to something simple and soothing (perhaps just a solid color).
  2. Rearrange the icons on your phone’s home screen (either to make it more efficient or to make it prettier).
  3. Clear EVERYTHING off your desk, dust and wipe it all down, and put it back in a new arrangement (even a “sub-optimal” one).
  4. Turn your phone to grayscale, usually done through the Display Accessibility Settings (your phone is way less interesting in black and white).
  5. Turn off all the notifications, banners, and badges on your phone, except maybe for calls and texts. Turn them back on one at a time as you miss them (you won’t).
  6. Use the incognito mode on your browser today. You will have to manually log-in to every site you want to visit (Good).

NOTE: These are not invitations to avoid action and responsibilities. They are starting points if you are already doing exactly that. If you are currently paralyzed and doing nothing helpful for yourself or others, then going straight to good, useful, productive work might be impossible. And constantly chastising yourself for NOT doing that work will only ensure continued inaction. You might need to harness some small change to breakup the relationship you’re currently in with inaction. Good luck.