In an earlier post I recommended that you spend less time “thinking globally” and more time “acting locally”. I shared the potential negative effects of too much attention on global issues that you can’t control. (I didn’t include this earlier, but you may want to block notifications from your local social media site – you know the one. It can be a bullhorn for complainers and fear-mongers. That will just keep you focused on all that’s wrong in your hood, instead of all that’s good.)
What are some benefits of “acting locally”?
- You can affect change at a local level far easier.
- When you focus on what you can control and act on it, you calm your busy mind and regulate your nervous system through movement.
- You make connections in the real work which stimulates your vagus nerve (huge for combating anxiety)
- Other people’s nervous systems are affected by yours, so you bring more peace to the world by calming yourself.
- You become more resilient – able to handle challenges and enjoy life.
What are some ways to “think locally”?
- Look for the good in your hood. There’s tons of it, I promise you. When you see the good, you feel good. It creates a sense of possibilities inside you.
- Look for ways to make things better and get involved in the easiest way possible.
- Learn the name of as many neighbors on your street as you can – and say hello.
- Buy from locally owned shops and keep money flowing in your community.
- Thank shop staff for showing up. Workers are in short supply, and the ones who are there are feeling the stress.
- Join a CSA to support local farmers when they need the money most. Then benefit from the freshest local food possible.
- Shop at a farmer’s market and privately owned grocery stores if you’re lucky enough to have them. They’ll only exist if you use them.
- Call or email your city council members just to thank them for their work – it’s a pretty thankless job and you may be amazed at how much it’s appreciated.
- Stay informed about good things happening in your neighborhood and support them how you can – with your time, a donation, spreading the word, or just thanking them.
Here are two concerns that come up pretty regularly when I share this idea with my clients who want to reduce stress and be more productive:
- Don’t I need to be informed to be a good citizen?
Yes, but don’t confuse informed with inundated. As I mentioned in the earlier post, being inundated with information makes you less capable of dealing with it wisely.
Information will reach you even if stop looking for it. When you find a topic you care about and want to be informed, look for non-sensationalistic reports. Get the information, then act.
Knowledge itself is not power. What you do with knowledge is power.
I don’t stay up to date on everything happening in the world. I know my brain and body can’t handle it. But when I hear about something I care about, I find a way to act. Before elections I study candidates and how they voted on issues, and I make informed decisions based on that information. I stay away from most of the stories when I can’t do anything about them.
- Won’t I look stupid at parties if I don’t know what’s going on?
Yep, that might happen. Fear of looking stupid and not fitting in is a real thing. But if you’re spending your time doing things you love, creating, contributing, and enjoying your life, you’ll have more to talk about than current events that don’t concern you. Being interested in your own life makes you interesting – not to everyone – but to the people with whom you want to belong. And we all need to belong.
You can also spend less time talking. Take the pressure off yourself. Spend more time asking questions, listening, and learning. Most people will find you quite interesting if you ask about them 🙂
There is so much good you can do and feel if you’re not distracted by everything else.
I hope that helps.
If you want to focus more on what you can control, check out my Free Masterclass that will give you clarity on where to focus now.