We can easily fall into the trap of anxiety once we become aware of a problem. Many challenges are so interconnected that their complexity thwarts genuine attempts at trying to improve the situation. Or we just have so much going on that we do not have the headspace to pursue yet another undertaking. We quickly fall from enlightened to disheartened. Such a state can lead us into skepticism, cynicism, apathy, or helplessness.
How can we stop from feeling overwhelmed so we can still make a difference?
Take a breath and analyze your situation.
A Responsibility to Act
Are you among the first to find out about a particular adverse situation? Then you have a duty to spread awareness so others can contribute to its resolution, especially if you can prevent it from spiraling out of your immediate control.
Have you or someone in your family worsened the situation or will not changing your behavior lead to measurably worse results in the future? Then you have a responsibility to help counter past action or inaction. You should not leave future generations saddled with the mistakes that you or your family made.
Will you or your family be personally affected by this situation or have you been already? Then you have an obligation to yourself or to others who could encounter the same scenario. Addressing your problem for the future gives meaning to your past suffering and having carried that burden makes you uniquely qualified to resolve it for others.
A Debt to Repay
Have you benefited from a situation that cost others who were disadvantaged? Then you owe your improved chances in part to them. You may have still had to work hard and overcome other obstacles to achieve success, but many people do not even get an opportunity. Do the right thing and pay it forward by ensuring more people get at least the shot that you were able to take.
A Choice to Make
Have you not played a role in a current situation which does not positively or negatively affect you? Will the situation likely continue to get worse for a particular community without substantial effort?
Here you have a choice. You can choose to take up their plight by spreading awareness or taking action for the affected population. Or you could save your time and money for something you are more passionate about. Try not to be anxious about a situation for which you are not the cause, you are not personally affected, and you have little control over the outcome.
This is the only way that we can stay sane in a crazy world. Feeling overwhelmed is a natural consequence of our 24/7 news society and our always-on lives. Only by diagnosing how each movement speaks to us can we find our true calling when it comes to giving back. Are you ready to find a cause that speaks to you?