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Focus on
What You CAN Do

It’s true – there are awful problems in the world too big for any one person to change.

Constantly reading, thinking, talking and posting about terrible problems can feel as if we are doing something helpful.

Unfortunately, worrying about the bad things that do and might happen causes greater overwhelm, loneliness and fear.

Getting stuck in feeling upset doesn’t make anything better.

Here are some ways to get ‘unstuck’ – to feel better, improve mental health, and actually be more effective helping your friends, your family, and our world.

Focus on positive actions within your control.

Figuring out positive things you CAN do – and then doing them – won’t change the world, but it can change YOU. It can make you healthier and happier – and more prepared to make a difference.

Taking one positive action can give you:

  • a sense of purpose
  • connection with others
  • feelings of hope and joy
  • motivation to take another step!

What can you do?
It can be hard to notice opportunities to act if you haven’t been looking for them. Here are actions that have helped other people get unstuck:

  • Clean up a mess that’s not yours
  • Read or play a game with a child or lonely senior you know
  • Thank a cashier, bus driver, custodian, or clerk
  • Put out a bowl of water for neighborhood dogs
  • Plant something that birds, butterflies, or bees will like
  • Rake, sweep, or take out the trash for a neighbor
  • Reach out to someone who hasn’t heard from you lately
  • Give even a little bit of time or money to help a cause you care about
  • Offer to assist someone who is struggling to open, carry, or move something
  • Notice people. Smile. Wave. Say hello.

Take a look at our article Profound Sadness – and the Powers We DO Have – and go to our Fullpower Adult Leadership, Safety, and Protection page for more about our work.

For more, visit our Mental Health resources page.

Make self-care a high priority

Most of us know that getting the rest, exercise, connection, nourishment, and care we need will make us calmer, happier, and more prepared to do our work and help others.

The problem is that making enough time for self-care can feel impossible with work, school, and family responsibilities.

It’s easy to trick ourselves into thinking that we can get by with far less self-care than we actually need.

Without investing in ourselves, we are harming ourselves.

This is why it’s essential to make nurturing ourselves a top priority in our daily lives.


Develop & choose positive beliefs

Beliefs are thoughts we have over and over until we become convinced they are true.

Some are empowering. Some are limiting. All are changeable. Just deciding to change a negative belief probably won’t work at first because it won’t feel true.

For example, going from “I hate my body” to “I love my body” doesn’t happen just because we decide we want a new belief about our body.

Instead of trying to make a big leap that doesn’t feel true, you can use a strategy to change a negative belief in smaller steps, gradually, over time.


Protect your feelings

Have you ever felt miserable because of something cruel that someone said or did to you? Has this experience made you miserable over and over again every time you remember it?

You have the power to protect your feelings so that you can stay safe emotionally.

Here’s how.


Create safe and strong relationships

Developing safe and strong relationships helps us to reduce isolation, protect our mental health, and add joy and purpose to our lives.

Even one strong connection with a caring person can help to replace despair with hope.

Times of transition often lead to the loss of ongoing close relationships. Even if you don’t have someone you can talk with on a personal level right now, brief, positive exchanges with strangers and acquaintances can brighten our whole day. A smile, a wave, or a short chat about the weather can help us to feel more connected and less alone.

Here are some ways to meet new people and improve your relationships.


Set & respect boundaries

Do you ever feel misunderstood, taken for granted, or disrespected?

By speaking up clearly, respectfully, and powerfully, for what you DO and DO NOT want, you can reduce stress, improve communication, and prevent and solve problems.

Setting boundaries can help you to protect your time, your feelings, your body, your safety, and your mental and physical wellbeing.


Support others

Have you ever seen a friend or family member struggling emotionally? Maybe they were depressed or anxious or very sad because of a loss?

Many of us really want to help, and we aren’t always sure how. We might feel that whatever we do just isn’t enough, or we’re worried about doing the wrong thing and making someone feel worse.

The simple things can make a big difference.

Helping someone in need can improve your mood, your sense of wellbeing, and your sense of connection.

Here are some ideas of how to help others while still taking care of yourself.


Recognize and ask for what you want

One of the most important keys to good mental health is being able to do things that give you joy, satisfaction, and success in your life.

In order to do this, you first have to determine your own values, goals, and priorities.

Next, you have to look at what your options are and figure out some specific next steps for taking action.

And then, you need to be prepared to advocate for yourself persistently, respectfully and powerfully.

Here are some ways to recognize and ask for what you want.


Get help

Do you hate asking for help? Do you want to solve problems yourself instead of leaning on other people? Have you had bad experiences where the help you got made things worse?

Unfortunately, many cultures view asking for help as a weakness or as being selfish.

Some families see getting professional help such as counseling or therapy as being a personal failure, and associate mental healthcare with being ‘crazy.’

Getting help when you need it takes courage and strength.

Here are some ideas for how to overcome obstacles to getting the right kind of help for YOU.


Protect your personal safety

Too much misery, suffering, and trauma are caused by abuse, bullying, and assault.

The good news is that you have the power to protect yourself most of the time.

Here are some ways that you can develop the confidence and skill to take charge of your personal safety at home, at work, online, and in public.