When a tragedy like the earthquake in Haiti happens, and the images and stories are so disturbing, it is normal to feel extreme emotions: despair, depression, anxiety that help isn't getting their fast enough, guilt, even denial. The thing is, extreme emotions are not always the most productive ones. Eventually, Haiti will be out of the 24-hour news cycle, but its people will still need support. Make a commitment this month to do your part to help over the long term, in a balanced way.
Below are five ideas for how to keep your balance, while helping Haiti, or any cause you are passionate about:
1. Be conscious of how much news you watch and read. Don't consume too much, or too little, and definitely avoid reading or watching before going to sleep at night.
2. Look at your budget. How much money can you afford to give an organization working in Haiti? Even if it feels small, give it, be grateful you can give it, and don't feel guilty that you can't give more at this time.
3. Start doing research on organizations working in Haiti that you would like to support financially, or by volunteering throughout 2010. Guidestar has a huge list.
4. Balance the sorrow with the silly. Make sure you are getting a daily dose of laughs whether it is from watching funny movies and TV shows, or reading humorous books and comics. My favorite comedy these days is Modern Family.
5. Feel grateful for what you have, and enjoy it. If you have the privilege of living a relatively easy life, then truly relish it. Start, or restart, a gratitude journal and write down at least one thing you are grateful for each day.
When we are happy, we have energy, and when we have energy, we can be better helpers.
BlogHer Contributing Editor, Britt Bravo, also blogs at Have Fun * Do Good, WE tv's WE Volunteer blog, The Extraordinaries, and the Global Center for Cultural Entrepreneurship blog. She is a Big Vision Consultant.