THE BLOG
09/25/2014 01:40 pm ET Updated Nov 25, 2014

The One Question To Ask Yourself When The World Feels Completely Overwhelming

It seems as though the world has become a particularly scary place lately. ISIS, beheadings, the Ebola epidemic, global warming, the conflict in Israel, emergency landings, shooting sprees, a government that cannot agree. Nothing feels as safe as it once was. Of course, for many Americans that really started on September 11th, 2001 and for those in the know, perhaps way before that. But whether the world is becoming more and more unstable or we are just now privy to more knowledge and access to the happenings in the world, these far reaching issues can affect you greatly in your everyday life.

And to make matters worse, there is no getting away from these scary things. Twitter, Facebook, newspapers, the Internet, the media with their need to feed on tragedy and ratings, it never ends.

I know that I have woken up lately with a low level sense of anxiety -- waking up and trying to remember if something is wrong and if so what it is.

The world is facing numerous issues but closer to home there are always every day challenges to deal with. I have recently weathered some sort of virus that is now on it's second course of antibiotics, which I have given to my husband (who is not a fun sick person), my daughter's iPhone screen has cracked and if I want to know where she is, I'll need to get that taken care of, I'm late scheduling my son's yearly check up, I accidently ran over a large rock causing what will invariably be a need for an entire new fender. And as I write this, an ant has begun crawling across my laptop -- which means it is time to call Terminix (refer to my earlier piece). And to top it all off, due to a sprained SI joint, I have to take two months off of Pilates -- perhaps the one thing that keeps me slightly sane and slightly thinner -- I have three business trips coming up, a fundraiser that my friends and I put together to finish planning and it seems that there will very likely be a gap between when our new house will be ready to move into and when we have to leave our current house -- meaning it is possible I will have to figure a short term place to live for me, my husband, my two teenage children and our two, large, unruly dogs and a houseful of things. Now in the context of the world's problems these are less than minor, but they are the things that I am dealing with now, today, and add these things to the many responsibilities of my full time job and it's a lot to handle. Your issues are probably not exactly the same -- but suffice it to say that our lives are full of wading through the mundane and immediate issues at hand and worrying about the many overreaching ones. So how to stay sane, rational and be effective -- most especially at work?

And let me just preface this by saying that as an informed person, it's important to think about these global problems and if you are the kind of person that is up for helping to solve them - jump in. Or find small ways to help. But in the meantime, I believe there is one question to ask yourself that will help you focus, steady yourself and be productive when your first instinct is to curl up and stay in bed.

Ask yourself: What is it that I am trying to achieve?

If at work, ask yourself, what am I trying to achieve overall? And then break it down. What am I trying to achieve this month, this week and today? Knowing what you need to do makes it much easier to take action. And focus on what needs to be accomplished.

If at home, ask yourself, what needs to be achieved here? What can I accomplish today? What can I save until tomorrow?

By breaking life down into manageable bits, the completely overwhelming, immobilizing aspects become manageable and doable.

I'd also like to suggest reminding yourself of all the wonderful things in your life. Your friends, your family, funny movies, the beach, good books, fireworks, love, sex, everything that makes you happy.

It may not obliterate the worries in your life -- both real and imagined, but it should help you get through the day. And achieve all that you can. So ask yourself, what do I want to achieve today. Which is a great place to start.