Life Advice



How to Feel Less Powerless

Annie Lane on

Dear Readers: A great number of you wrote in and responded to "Feeling Powerless" with some wonderful suggestions to help. Below are a few. Thank you very much for your positive input.

Dear Feeling Powerless: I think there are many, many people feeling the same way, including myself. Here are some things I do to put positive feelings out into the world:

-- I donate blood. It is something physical that helps others.

-- I donate to charities when I can. I make sure the money is really being spent well by checking on their ratings.

-- I volunteer when I can by helping an elderly neighbor go grocery shopping or run errands.

-- I adhere to "no news Friday" by turning off the radio or TV and read a book or listen to music or do a puzzle.

-- I engage with my family and friends, cooking a good meal, going to the beach, doing crafts, etc.

I hope these suggestions help or get you thinking about other ways of engaging in positive mental health. -- Breathe Deeply

Dear Breathe Deeply: These are wonderful suggestions. Thank you for sharing.

Dear Annie: That was a great post. Thanks for publishing it. It is an exact copy of what I have been feeling for the last couple of years, and my answer has been: When you are going through hell...just KEEP going! -- Keep Going

Dear Keep Going: Or as the Queen of England says, keep calm and carry on.

Dear Annie: When I see the horrific suffering of the brave Ukrainian people, I am reminded of all that I have that I normally take for granted. Now even the simplest of life's pleasures seem so sweet. -- Grateful in Connecticut


Dear Grateful: Thank you.

Dear Annie: First and foremost, "Feeling Powerless" needs to reconnect with people. This can be by phone, but she can also meet others in person who are feeling the same way through volunteering.

Finally, I had a moment myself feeling powerless when our country was brutally attacked on Sept. 11, 2001. I took back control by volunteering for the American Red Cross. There are many groups now raising support for the Ukrainian people that she could join. -- Volunteering Helps Save Lives

Dear Volunteering: Thank you for your letter.

Dear Annie: I'm writing in response to "Feeling Powerless," who is having a hard time with the pandemic, rising gas prices, the war and grocery stores running out of her cat food.

After my first daughter was born, a pipe broke on the main road by our house, and we had a boil water advisory for a few days. I had to boil the water for her baths and everything else. Anyway, we met some friends for dinner, and I complained about the water boiling and how hard it was to do it. One of our friends was raised in Sri Lanka and said, "Oh, I know, my mom had to boil all of our water for my entire upbringing." Well, needless to say, this gave me a whole new perspective.

I'm not writing this to make anyone feel bad for complaining, but just to put things in a new light and maybe help them feel better. When I am upset about things sometimes, I ask myself if it is a real problem or a First World problem. Usually, it's the latter. -- Trying to Stay Positive

Dear Trying to Stay Positive: Wonderful advice. Thank you.


"How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?" is out now! Annie Lane's second anthology -- featuring favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to



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