Eating tranquilizers, pounding Jack, inhaling carbs? Do you need to be sedated before you watch the evening news? Do you come home from work black, blue and bedraggled, feeling as if you have done a few rounds with the great Muhammad Ali?

Has your relentless job hunting evolved into Groundhog Day revisited? Has chronic CNN and MSNBC watching given you PTSD? Is your life an episode of Survivor? Have you been known, from time to time, to take refuge on the floor of your closet?

You might wonder if the world is coming to an end. Was, in fact, Chicken Little right, and the sky is falling. Or are we about to live Cormac McCarthy’s version of The Road?

It’s enough to give a grown person the willies. Many things that once seemed bedrock-solid are crumbling. The world is changing; it’s all very fast and furious. Terra firma is shifting, at best, and a bad B movie, at worst. Nothing seems enduring; everything feels fragile. Chaos has found its voice. It is, without question, a very scary time.

There are so many variables and so much reactivity; it is hard to find your footing. Let’s talk a few coping strategies so you can ride this historical bucking bronco and not find yourself splayed in a heap in the dust.

1. Perspective, i.e., time to don the lenses with the big viewfinder.

Human beings have a remarkable capacity for resilience. There is a reason one of us created the maxim that “necessity is the mother of invention.” We have survived and endured; there are millennia of history before us. We have created kick-ass lemonade with lemons. And it is time to do that again.

This is particularly American. We are the land of can-do, the place of rebirth. We love the underdog doing what needs to be done and coming back on top. There was a reason the return of former down-and-out actor, Mickey Rourke, in the movie, The Wrestler, resonated with so many. We all like a come-back story.

It’s like the loose thread at the hem of your coat. You notice it; you might even try to yank off the dangly bit, but it is not a priority, and, often, it gets ignored. When the hem has fallen, and you are looking very rag-tag; it becomes a priority, and you begin to make the repair and mend your coat.

It’s the same thing here in this great United of States. We have ignored the falling hem (read: hungry children, homelessness, inadequate health care, broken schools, decaying cities, housing, energy crisis, depleted environment et al) and, now, we are looking fairly wrecked and disheveled. We are ready for repair, serious repair.

I see this whole bucking-bronco-ride as a course correction that exhumes core values. I see in working together for the betterment of all, we become stronger than ever.

To change metaphor in midstream, like a snake swallowing a rat, more than likely, there will be a few more deep contractions to get our attention, to cease the bifurcated posturing and allow us to come together, our great United of States to solve our problems and be better for it.

In other words, it is time for perspective and the long view. It is time to keep the faith in our abilities to mend and heal. Encoded in our can-do USA citizenship is the gumption, grit and vision that allows us to ride, ride, ride that bucking bronco and tip our hats to history and know that we can create a brave new world.

2. Discharge excess energy.

Do not simmer, sit, stew, obsess, ruminate, nit-pick, worry, fret, agonize or perseverate. In those internal twists and turns, you create a head full of excess energy, as well as a body contracted and knotted with tension.

In other words, for the moment, you’re a mess. Your sleep is disturbed; your eating is off or very on. Your temper is short; your fear is long. You are unraveling and feel like you might snap at any given moment. You are on sensory overload – too much bad news, too many demands and too limited resources, too much to juggle, too much shoulder.

A practical approach is called for here. May I suggest you discharge this excess energy? It is serving no real purpose save to make you tight, taut, tense and cranky.

There are two ways to discharge excess energy: the physical and the expressive. The physical, as you could well guess, includes any kind of movement, exercise, walking, dancing, sex and the like. The expressive, as the name suggests, is about releasing via expression, be it a heart-to-heart talk, writing, singing and any another creative endeavor that funnels the energy out of your system.

Like an overcharged battery, once your excess energy has been drained, you will become more effective. And given all you have to do, that would be a good thing.

3. Breathe

It sounds so basic. You do it every day – without thinking. However, a regular practice of a dozen deep breaths, a few times a day, can re-ground you in you, help you reconnect with your physical self and decrease stress. It’s simple; it’s a no-brainer and so easy to do. You oxygenate your body; you re-inhabit yourself, and you become more clear-headed, less frazzled and able to deal a bit better.

It can’t hurt, and it works.

4. Follow Gandhi’s advice: “Be the change you want to see.”

If you accept that everything is energy, wouldn’t it follow that every one of your actions is a kind of energetic input that impacts not only your existence, but that of the world as well. Every action makes a difference. Quantum physics has proved this.

Therefore, consider being your Highest Self and act with integrity; treat every one like your brother/sister, work for peaceful and respectful resolutions, and offer a hand to help those in need. In doing same, you become a powerful change agent that helps create the shift towards a more responsible, conscious, interconnected and caring world.

Dear reader, may your ride be easy in the coming days.

© Copyright 2009 by Adele Ryan McDowell

Author's Bio: 

Adele Ryan McDowell, Ph.D., is a psychologist, empath and shaman who likes looking at life with the big viewfinder. Her website is, and her email address is