Modern life is nuts – there’s no doubt about it.
Sure, we have so much more than our ancestors in so many ways, but with that comes a whole of crap that can do your head in (as we Brits say).
Life can be really exciting, really exhilarating and super fun, but at the same time it can also be turbulent, stressful, confusing and disorienting.
The speed with which modern inventions have shaped our living and working environment represents the tiniest fraction of human evolution, so I think our minds and bodies can be excused for struggling to keep up.
Our bodies are built for hunting, gathering and running, but these attributes are almost superfluous as a requirement to survive in today’s society.
In this modern era, our minds are being permanently bombarded with information that we sub-consciously (and consciously) need to sift through, so we can separate the crucial and the relevant from the extraneous and the plain useless. Sometimes, it can seem almost impossible to switch off.
The result is that we’re in an almost chronic, low state of fight-or-flight.
As human beings, the nature of our ‘tribes’ has changed so dramatically that most people struggle to understand their purpose in society and how they fit in. There’s such a mix of cultures and religions and messages about who we should be and how we should act – it can be utterly overwhelming.
Unless you’re one of the smombie tribe, in which case, as you were. Nothing to see here. Get back to your Candy Crush or whatever.
Yes, it is indeed a crazy world in which we live.
So, what can we do to stay sane in a clearly insane world? Well, I’m pleased to tell you that there are some things you can do to hang on to those remaining shreds of sanity. Read on, my friend . . .
It’s a commonly known fact that physical exercise helps our bodies get stronger, increases our energy levels, reduces stress and makes us happier generally.
But for exercise to become a habit that is sustainable, it needs to be something that you really enjoy. I mean, if you hate going to the gym, don’t even bother trying. If you hate running, don’t do it.
The reality is, we already have to do enough crap in life that we hate, without voluntarily inflicting more torture on ourselves just to stay fit and healthy.
It’s so hard to stick to something unless you really enjoy it and the key to staying fit is to exercise regularly and consistently.
Exercise and movement is an important factor in keeping sane, so you need to find a way to make it work for you.
Related ~ Ultimate Fat-Burning Workouts: Tabata
Before you freak out at the suggestion, meditation does not need to be a full-on spirituality trip and we’re not talking about sitting on a mountain top in the lotus position for days on end.
There are loads of different types of meditation. For example, using a method called mindfulness, you can escape the madness for a short while just about anywhere, whatever you’re doing.
Really, meditation is all about getting some ‘you time’ and a break from the noise, distraction and stress of the world around you. And the beauty of that is, we all possess the ability to find stillness within ourselves anytime we like. (That came out a bit more ‘profound-and-wise-spiritual guide’ than I intended, but you get my drift.)
The point it, we can all do it – we just need to train ourselves to turn of the surrounding noise.
Try it – it works wonders!
3. Morning routine
You may claim that you are not a morning person, but the fact is, most people are much more productive in the early hours of the morning, regardless of how good you are at actually getting out of bed.
Alarm. Snooze. Alarm. Snooze. Alarm. Ok, last one. Alarm. Ugh. (FFS) I hate mornings.
Is that you?
Yeah, it used to be me too. But you can change the habit. Like most things, you need to decide to want to do it first. Then it is just a question of forming the habit.
Getting up one hour earlier every day give you seven more hours a week and 365 more hours per year. That is an extra 15 days per year to do stuff!!
Think what you could do with that! Exercise, read a book, learn a language, study for an exam, clear your emails, whatever.
People say that life is short, but when you factor in sleeping and the 9-5, it’s even shorter. Say we work for 8 hours working and sleep for 7 – that leaves you with 9 hours per day to do something meaningful. When we subtract time for cooking, eating, washing, daily chores, queuing and travelling, etc., you’re probably looking at just a couple of hours a day to live the life you choose.
Seize the day!
4. Evening routine
This is just as important as having a good morning routine, as it sets you up for some good quality sleep. Turn off your electronic devices and don’t watch too much tv before bed. Instead, read a book, do some meditation or some exercise or yoga. Avoid ‘heavy’ or stressful conversations with your partner – save them for another time. The last thing you need before sleeping is an active or worrying mind.
Put yourself in a relaxed state before you get that night of quality sleep. Remember, you’re getting up an hour earlier in the morning!
5. Eat Right
You are what you eat. Eat badly and you’re body’s going to operate badly. You don’t need to do any of these crazy diets. Just make sure you eat plenty of fish, fresh fruit, vegetables and nuts, cut down on refined sugars and saturated fats and drink plenty of water. A balanced diet, basically.
It’s pretty simple, but so many people don’t even try to do it properly. They eat fast food, microwave meals and sugary snacks and wonder why they feel like sh*t all the time.
I can tell you that they feel like sh*t, because they eat sh*t and that is what is fuelling their bodies.
Even if you’re on a low income, you can eat a healthy balanced diet. It can be done – if you want it.
When you eat well, you feel well and it is easier to keep your mind in a good place too.
6. Exercise Your Brain
Do things that are outside your comfort zone. Develop new skills. Do calculations in your head. Learn a new language. Study for an exam. Be curious. Ask questions. Don’t be a smombie.
You brain isn’t technically a muscle, but it behaves in the same way in that if you don’t use it, it gets weaker, less sharp and less creative. You need to train it.
We found some great activities for the mind here.
7. Find Meaning in Your Life
When you break it down, the most important thing in life is probably to have meaningful relationships with others. Otherwise, what’s the point? You might as well live on an island, all on your own.
You will come across your fair share of a-holes in life, but the majority of people out there are wonderful human beings with the same kind of hopes, desires, insecurities and fears that you may also have.
Relating to other people and having a sense of belonging to a ‘tribe’ is an important part of the happiness equation.
So finding meaning and purpose in the things you do and the way you live your life is crucial to happiness and mental well-being. Do the things that make you happy. And do things that make others happy and do more of it.
And do it again. And again. And again. That’s called living! 🙂
How do you keep your mind fit? Have you got it all sussed?
Let us know your tips and ideas. We’d love to hear them!