Surviving in a crazy world

How to Survive in this Crazy World

Life is full of pressure. Worries about your health, terrorist threats on the news, financial troubles, conflicts at work and family concerns. Without a center in your life, those pressures are likely to push you around. I’ve found taking time to center myself every day gives me the strength to do my best.

Centering is often seen as a religious or spiritual activity. Centering yourself around spiritual beliefs or rituals is perfectly fine. But if you aren’t a particularly religious person, or situations have caused you to change your faith, you might find it hard to center yourself.

I’m not a religious person, but I still find time to center myself every day. Here are a few of the things worth centering on:

The Now. Focusing yourself on what you have instead of what you don’t have. Focusing on present actions instead of future worries and past regrets. Focusing on what is.

Your Dreams. Center yourself on the direction you want to take your life. Re-reading any goals I’ve written down helps me reaffirm what I want from life instead of responding to cynicism and frustration.

Family. Center around the people you love. This may be harder to center on if you’re having conflicts with your family. But by focusing on the best part of your relationships you can center yourself on what is important to you.

Your Passions. Center around the work you love doing. Focus on your ability to create.

By centering your thoughts on one of these points, you can anchor yourself in stressful times. Even if your life is great, a centering activity can keep you stable, instead of letting enthusiasm push you away from what is really important to you.

Ways to Center Yourself

Centering is an exercise in focus. It can’t be multitasked with answering your e-mails or watching television. Set aside at least fifteen minutes each day to center yourself. The busier you are, the more you need to center. Without centering, you’ll burn yourself out before you start.

Here are a few of my favorite ways to center myself in this crazy world we all live in:

Breathe. Close your eyes and focus entirely on your breathing. Count between breaths and control the time that passes. If a thought enters your mind, let it pass. With a mind like water you can center on the present.

Go on a Thought Walk. Go for a walk and just think. If you find yourself getting onto negative, un-centered thoughts too often, try listening to brighter music at the same time. Another variant of this is to get an audio tape from a speakerlike Brian Tracy, Zig Ziglar or Tony Robbins. Center yourself on the things you already know, but sometimes forget.


Read. Get complete silence and read one of your favorite books. Read something that will inspire you and center you on what is important in your life. Reading is a skill that requires focus, so it is naturally suited for being a centering activity.

Zen and Cooking. Prepare a meal in complete silence and eat it slowly. I like to focus on the taste of the food I’m eating. Eat the meal as if you were tasting food for the first time. This activity is great for getting outside your thoughts and staying focused on the present.

Exercise. The bench press might not seem like a meditative activity, but exercise is one of my favorite centering activities. With lifting weights, the steady pattern of repetitions, focus and breathing all combine to focus me. When I jog, my body falls into a rhythm of steps. The side-benefit of this is that exercise also improves your body at the same time.

Write. Keeping a journal also helps me center. Writing gives added control over your thinking, so you can direct it back towards your center. If I want to center around my goals, I’ll simply decide to write about my goals and progress towards them. As the writing starts to flow, my thoughts also center back on that point.

Stretch. Stretch each of your major muscle groups. Stretching gives you more awareness of your body, helping to focus on the now. Stretching also improves flexibility and can help with any unconscious soreness you might have been experiencing.

Quotes. I love a good quote. Entire ideas eloquently compressed into just a sentence or two. Keeping a list of great quotes can give you pointers when you need to center yourself. A few of my favorites include:

“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men experience it as a whole. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.” – Helen Keller

“Great spirits have often encountered violent opposition from weak minds.” – Albert Einstein

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“A ship is safe in the harbor, but that is not what ships were built for.”

“Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Dream. Spend a few minutes and write down the things you want to do, experience and achieve in your life. Don’t worry about what is possible or practical. Just write down the things that fill you with enthusiasm for life. Even if after you put down the pen, you can’t change anything, you’ve centered yourself on what gives your life joy.

Photos by Zachstern and Rtv75.

20 Responses to How to Survive in this Crazy World

  1. Perhaps it’s also best to skip the news once in a while. Treat yourself to a relaxing night without work interruptions, without negative news crowding your mind. Have a good meal. Read a good book. Just think of yourself for that night and tomorrow should be a better morning.

  2. Maria Rivera says:

    Waking up and being thankful, my family, cooking, and lately blogging is what keeps me centered.

  3. Ryan says:

    Jen, I second your idea of an interruption-free night. Evenings where I’m back on the computer and doing “stuff” (even I don’t know what I do) only wear me down more, and when I wake up the next morning, I don’t want to get on the computer again to write.

  4. Ryan says:

    Ever since I started writing in a journal, my life has become more organized and centered. My blog helps me do the same thing. There is something about getting feelings and thoughts in writing that refreshes the brain.

  5. One of my favorite ‘centering’ activities is to nap. I always think about what’s really bothering me when I start dozing off; when I wake up, I feel refreshed, alert, and I have a new perspective on the problems and worries I’m facing.

    Odd, I know, but it works!

  6. Peter says:

    The evening news just seems to be one negative news story after another – I rarely, if ever, watch it anymore.

    I think it is important though to be an informed citizen, but I am much more selective about the news stories I take an interest in. I find the social media, eg reddit, can be a good filter for the stories that are interesting and/ or truly matter. Or, if is an important story I will overhear other ppl talking about it and from there I can go do my own investigations.

  7. tracy ho says:

    Refreshing article , thanks for reminding ,

    All the best to you,

    tracy ho

  8. Another great post, Scott! I love the idea of being centered and it’s something I’ve thought about a lot before:

    “It was clear that the best way to control myself was by living my life according to principles. The only way I’d be able to remain grounded in times of chaos was by anchoring myself in something eternal. Of all the people in this world, I had to count on myself most. I needed to make sure the man by my side was one I could trust and ultimately respect.

    And of all the values I wanted to live by, one stood out. More than anything, I wanted to be an independent thinker. I didn’t want to be one of those people who believed certain beliefs just because I always had or lived a certain life just because everyone else did. I didn’t want to be one of those people who hopped on whatever bandwagon happened to be pulling into town without ever taking the time to think for myself.

    I needed to be my own person. I needed to stand up for myself and the things I believed in most, even if it meant being unpopular. I needed to stop accepting things at face value and start question the status quo, even if it meant being criticized. I needed to become comfortable with who I was. It was the only way I’d be able to set my own standards, make my own mistakes, and live my own life. It was the only way my life would be worth living in the first place. It was the only way I’d be able to make a real difference.”

    (Extract from Work in Progress)

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  10. Deb Estep says:

    I love what you have shared Scott, THANK YOU !!!

    Centering is a way to regroup and keep life from snowballing out of control.

    Breathing with mindfulness is what works for me.
    A few years back, I created this graphic to share
    with some other military parents at an online support group. Please feel free to print this out. The visual is a great reminder to take a calming breath.
    Tape one inside your car and you can do red light
    breathing. Instead of getting frustrated at a red light,
    I turn it into a moment to ~breathe~. :)

    ~*~ Breathe ~*~

    I also do grounding. With both feet on the ground, I envision my feet growing roots right into the Earth.
    I then can feel the nourishment and calm feeding right back up through myself.

  11. miguel says:

    great list. What items on this list help you the most?

  12. Nice article and few points were really good.. I guess you should read this on how to be a person who is loved by all :)

  13. Vikash says:

    “Early 2 Bed, Early 2 Rise,Makes a Man,
    Healthy, Wealthy n Wise!”

  14. Ben says:

    I agree, rereading my goals definitely gives me that extra motivational push to work hard and be diligent. You’re right, this is a crazy world :)

  15. Allen says:

    I really like what i have read in this.  I needed this to pick up my day.  Because i sometimes feel their is not out for me in the situations i have been going though these days.  I need all the help i can get from other sources.  It has been really hard on me, oh God it has been……….. Allen

  16. Deyned says:

    My  Brothers  Read  this:

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  18. troubledlostandconfused says:

    Damn thank you

  19. Regan Ryan says:

    Thank you.

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