Don’t Forget to Stay Sane!

In the midst of my usual work-related frenzy/stress/anxiety, I like to really pile on by occasionally hitting up the Drudge Report, where I get the latest snapshot of how the world is seemingly, I mean surely, spinning out of control.

Well, today, in the midst of links to stories on upcoming Election Day riots, feckless-yet-rabid political bickering and pending economic calamity, there was this encouragement from “scientists” to do five simple things a day to stay sane.

It sounds obvious, but it really isn’t, especially now that we’re connected 24/7, now that we’re twittering, facebooking, txt msging, quivering piles of stress and distraction. Suddenly, my dad’s ol’ 9 to 5 existence, where he dressed like Andy Sipowicz every day for 35 years, came home at the same time every day with the newspaper, called his mother on the rotary phone he leased from the phone company, ate dinner with the family, fell asleep in front of the ballgame, and woke up with usually mundane and usually manageable and containable concerns, seems downright quaint and rather appealing.

But enough of that antiquated fantasy. Here are some things I do to help me stay sane. Try ’em all!

* Walking to and from work, I try to see my surroundings through the eyes of someone else… a tourist, a loved one, a child, a truck driver. You appreciate your surroundings — and your existence — much more that way.
* P.S. I walk to and from work. Totally helps.
* When you need a break, just sit down at a piano, or pick up a guitar, and play. You don’t even have to know “how” to “play.” Just make noise. Eventually, if you have any sense of mathematics and rhythm, you’ll figure it out enough to sound coherent. But the main point is that you are engaging in pure self-expression. You will feel more “yourself” in these moments than in any other.
* P.S. Someone just up and gave me a baby grand piano a few months ago. Totally helps.
* Be nice to people you meet. It’s so simple to hold a door for someone, or say “hi” or “thank you” to someone, or even just make eye contact and smile at someone. Even if the person on the receiving end is an ignorant jerk, at least you tried to be a social human being with good intentions. At least you tried to interact. And when someone interacts back in a positive way, it feels good and it’s always a positive, soul-enriching experience.

How about you?

Oh, and GO PHIGHTIN’ PHILS!!!!!!

Posted by: Joe Paone

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