With all the big changes going on in the world and in the United States, what is the best way to handle all the stress and uncertainty?

—Stressed Out (U.S.A.)


Take especially good care of yourself and make sure that you are eating healthy foods and getting enough rest and exercise. You might also want to limit how much you read or watch the news, particularly in the evenings too close before bedtime.

If you’re particularly passionate about a cause like the environment or making sure all have access to food or healthcare, perhaps you could find a worthy organization and volunteer. That way, you’re using your energy towards contributing to making the world a better place rather than using your energy to worry about all the negative things that are happening.

Take care of yourself, my friend.



I am a professional man in my fifties and I am in management and make a lot of money. The thing is I spend a lot of time playing video games in the evenings and on the weekends. It helps me wind down. However, this is not going down well with the wife and she wants me to go to therapy. I do not think this is an issue that warrants a therapist as it doesn’t interfere with work and at least I am not out getting drunk and sleeping around. She reads your column and I want to know if you agree with me.

—Gamer (United States)


You didn’t mention how much time you spend gaming so let me just ask you a few questions. Are the video games taking a disproportionate amount of your free time? Is your urge to play video games out of control sometimes? For example, are you unable to relax without playing video games? Do you feel like you sometimes use games as a way of avoiding dealing with stress or dealing constructively with the cause of stress? If the answer to these questions is yes, you may want to explore therapy and figure out alternative ways of winding down. Maybe even fun stuff, including more quality private time and also couples time, including sex!

Think about these questions. It seems that the games are causing some stress in your marriage. It sounds like your wife would like more quality time with you and also would like you to be more emotionally present with her rather than playing games. Is there some way you and your wife could compromise, perhaps spending more quality time together while still giving you time to decompress by playing the games.



Do you have any suggestions on quitting smoking?

–Hacking and Harried (England)


Congratulations on deciding to quit.

To start, notice what you notice about smoking? Do you have particular triggers that make you want to smoke? For example, do you always want to smoke after eating? Do what you can to make small switches to triggers to make it easier to quit. For example, if you always want to smoke after a meal, make a new post-meal ritual to replace the smoking, like going for a short walk instead of lighting up after each meal. Your body and your lungs will thank you.

Also notice—do you jones for a cigarette when you’re in a certain type of mood? For example, do you grab a cigarette when you feel lonely or stressed? If so, just sit with whatever emotion you’re experiencing and just have it for a while and let it be okay. Often, people smoke as a way to pop out of their body to escape from uncomfortable feelings. Unfortunately, however, the feelings and issues are still there (and probably have increased) by popping out and going unconscious to the feelings by smoking. So just notice what you notice and let those energies be before lighting up.

Also validate that you are senior to smoking, to cigarettes. Validate your power and your power to choose yourself, your health, and your prosperity, over giving your power (and health and money) to a corporation that wants to profit off of your dependence on their product.



I can’t seem to manage the logistics of everyday life. Between the pressures of work, finances, establishing a social life, dealing with maintaining relationships, and running a household, I can’t seem to get everything done. Other people seem to manage those things but I feel like I am drowning in a pile of things I have to take care of. Please help.

John (from the United States)


You are not alone in feeling overwhelmed by the stress of managing your life and time. It’s called being human! That’s why there’s such a plethora of great resources out there—because so many are in the exact same boat. One great resource to begin with includes  the book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey (www.franklincovey).

In getting yourself organized, start with five basic steps:

1) Ground yourself .  To ground, imagine a grounding cord going from the base of your spine, going deep into the center of the earth, allowing that grounding cord to help you release any energies you no longer need (stress, tension, chaos, etc.) deep into the center of the earth, where that energy will be neutralized. After you ground, fill up with energies that you would like (ease, amusement, your wholeness, your connection to the divine, etc.)  (For a free recording of a grounding meditation, email with FREE GROUNDING EXERCISE in the subject line.)

2) Get enough rest. Getting enough sleep is key to feeling like you can cope. When you don’t rest, you’ll feel exhausted and then it’s even more difficult to get anything accomplished. When you take care of your body, giving it enough rest and anything else it needs (exercise, healthy food, etc.), it can support more effectively so you can get things done.

3) Set your intention and visualize what you’d like your life to look like. If you want calm mornings instead of running around to get everything done before you leave for work, set that intention and visualize (and FEEL) yourself getting up, calmly getting a simple breakfast ready, leisurely enjoying your breakfast, then walking out the door with plenty of time to spare in case of traffic.

4) Log how you are spending your time on a weekday. You might be surprised at where chunks of your time are going. Many people watch a few hours of TV per day as a way to try to recharge their batteries, but that time (or at least part of it ) might be better spent sleeping or taking care of things that don’t require a lot of focus. You can enjoy your favorite show while folding laundry or preparing the next day’s lunch or cleaning out your inbox, for example.  Once you know how you spend your time, you can change that according to your priorities. If there are things you are doing that you no longer enjoy, it’s time to reevaluate old habits or obligations, and to perhaps let some of them go.

5) Simplify. What is one easy way you can simply your life? Choose one small adjustment per week and incorporate it into your routine. For example, when you invite friends over, do you stress about having to prepare a whole meal for them? If so, have a potluck or just order pizza and serve it with ice tea or beer. True friends are really there for the company, right? And you just might set an example for everyone how to do it simply and allow everyone, including the hosts, to have fun. Or maybe instead of cooking a whole big breakfast, you could throw some fruit and veggies and flaxseeds into the blender and drink it on the way to work.

Many people get stressed trying to manage the logistics of being human. Sometimes perfectionism can be a part of that stress. Break things into small, manageable chunks and validate yourself for accomplishing each small task rather than looking at everything you have to do as one enormous unmanageable blob and punishing yourself for not tackling the huge blob that is everything you can’t deal with.

Also, inject each task with the energy of fun. While you’re doing the dishes, play your favorite songs and do a little victory “I finished the dishes” dance. Or whatever fun means to you.

Enjoy! And congratulations on looking at different ways to manage your life. It’s the first step towards change.

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