How to stay sane in an insane world


Kevin Mangelschots

It’s hard to stay sane in an insane world, that much is a given.

But, it isn’t all that bad. And not everyone is insane, either. Yet, some things in modern Western society have taken a turn for the worse. And it’s our duty as responsible citizens and ethical human beings to guard our civilization from turning corrupt and deviating from the straight path.

For those who are not willing, or don’t have the time to read the whole article, to stay sane, you need three main components.

  1. Structure
  2. Predictability
  3. Meaningful social interactions

What do you need in order to stay sane in an insane world?

Image of a sign saying, “insanity, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.

As said before, to stay sane in a crazy world, we need 3 things:

  • Structure
  • Predictability
  • Meaningful social interactions

When one or, god forbid, more of those three components of sanity are disturbed, then staying sane will probably not be possible over a prolonged period. Sooner or later, something’s got to give.


Staying of sound mind requires structure.

We need structure in our lives to stay of sound mind. Routines and discipline are both essential in order to make order out of the chaos that’s life. Existence can be chaotic. To make it more organized, we need to make a schedule that we can adhere to to prevent our minds from falling victim to chaos.

The structure also provides a sense of familiarity. It can help to complete tasks because we have these unconscious routines that make it easy to complete them without consciously thinking about them, which has the added benefit of also requiring less energy.

Furthermore, if we act upon every impulsive desire and whim that enters our mind, then we won’t accomplish much. Chances are large that we would forget to complete some meaningful tasks that are indispensable as well.

Routines can help to reduce or eliminate procrastination entirely, which will further aid in reducing stress levels.

In short, living a structured life makes us feel in control of our existence, which will serve the purpose of reducing anxiety, fear, and chronic stress. And these are all extremely toxic emotions that can wreak havoc on your mental and physical health.


A library of books put neatly in order.

This structure helps to make life predictable as well. When our lives are predictable, we adhere to what’s known to us. And what we know, feels safe. And what’s safe, brings comfort and peace of mind.

When life is too chaotic, and not predictable enough, we fall victim to chaos. And too much chaos and uncertainty at a given time can break us mentally. It can lead to anxiety, and even fear if this uncertainty becomes a chronic issue and goes on for too long.

It’s a double-edged sword. On one hand, if the only thing we do in our existence is hide what’s known and safe to us, then we don’t get the chance to experience and learn new, valuable skills. And these new abilities could improve our lives as a result.

But, on the other hand, if we venture too far into the unknown so that our existence becomes too unpredictable, then our mental health will start to deteriorate.

Predictability also aids others to anticipate how we will behave and react to them. This is important, because when we don’t know or can’t suspect how another person will behave, then this is another form of uncertainty. Uncertainty can potentially be extremely dangerous and a great risk to our survival.

As already said previously, for things to be safe, we need to feel in control by being able to foresee and predict what will happen in the present and future.

Meaningful social interactions

Group of school friends outdoors lifestyle and after school hang.

We humans are social beings who need meaningful interactions with each other in order to stay sane and healthy.

Sure, we differ in the amount of social interaction we desire with one another, as introverts require less social interaction than extroverts do to be content.

But still, keeping your mind sane requires every single individual to engage in meaningful social stimulation.

I know that keeping myself sane was very hard when I was socially isolating myself when severe depression took hold of me. No matter who you are, you require purposeful interactions with others. There’s no getting around that.

Not only that, but we outsource sanity to the other people around us because life is far too complex to do, and know it all just by ourselves. So, other people serve a purpose to keep your mind sane as well.

We influence and regulate other people’s behavior with social cues such as laughing, frowning, and many other facial expressions and non-verbal body language.

That’s also precisely why social acceptability is so important. It is one of the single most indispensable things we can teach our children to become successful, content, sane, and healthy adults in life. We require others to be able to tolerate us for a reasonable time, so we can get enough stimuli to grow as individuals.

Because a child, and adults for that matter, that’s socially acceptable has access to other people’s attention. Others will play will them, stimulate them, and give them entrée to all kinds of new experiences.

Well, now the question becomes, how do we get our children and ourselves to become socially acceptable?

We accomplish that feat by being someone who’s put together well. Someone respectful, who knows how to play nice with others. Who is predictable, reliable, ethical, and understands social cues.

Children who don’t become socially acceptable don’t get the chance to interact with other children and adults. This often leads to the development of antisocial behavior and other behavioral problems, which further enhances the already present issues.

How to stay sane in an age of division?

Distance yourself and your feelings from the insane

If people are truly insane or delusional, then it will probably be hard to make them come to their senses, no matter how much objective truth, empirical evidence, and common sense you attempt to apply.

If you want to learn how to stay sane in an age of division then the only solution might be to distance yourself from those who are truly delusional and insane. Especially if they are dangerous.

Remember that you should protect yourself at all times. And the single most important step regarding protecting yourself is to be aware of your environment.

But sometimes, we can’t truly distance ourselves from the crazy kind. We may be “forced” to work together with them either through work or maybe because they reside in our recreational or social circle.

Then you’ve got a choice to make.

Either you quit that job/recreation, or you leave the social circle you reside in, or you try your best to make do. And one of the best ways to cope successfully is to distance your feelings from those who are delusional and insane.

Try not to take anything personally that they say that you might consider to be offensive. Just remember that they’re not thinking straight. And thus, you shouldn’t be bothered by what they say, nor should you take any of their advice to heart.

Find common ground

Image of a person of white and black skin color holding hands.

Another thing you can do if you’re forced to work with them, and you want to do so at least civilly and professionally, is to find common ground.

There’s probably something you can both agree on. And hopefully, that’s what got you into that specific group in the first place. A common goal. For example, at your recreational circle, the common ground is hopefully to win, to improve at that sport, and/or to have fun with friends.

At work, it’s to make money, to deliver a good product to the consumers, and/or to grow in skill and social status.

No matter how different you guys are, it’s most likely feasible to find at least some common ground, and that’s a start. You should make it a point to discover it to prevent things from spiraling out of control.

How to stay sane in isolation?

Image of a young woman sitting alone in a room, depicting social isolation.

I think it’s very hard to stay sane in isolation. Especially if the isolation endures over a long time since most people will crack sooner or later. Some individuals might get physical symptoms such as lower back pain or headaches, and others might get mental health problems such as depression, fatigue, and suffering from anxiety.

But, there are some things we can do to stay sane in isolation, or at the very least to cope better with the whole situation. Not all is lost just because we can’t see people in real life, whether because of government-induced isolation due to COVID-19, or because you are isolating yourself due to suffering from a bad bout of depression.

We need to learn to make do with what we have. It’s about learning to dance in the rain rather than waiting for the rain to pass.

Connect with other people

A group of friends hugging on the beach.

One of the most vital things you can do to keep your mind sane in isolation is to connect with your close friends and family through the Internet. You can still talk to your loved ones via your cellphone, social media, or through popular applications such as Skype or discord.

Is it as good as the real stuff? No, probably not. But it’s a hell of a lot better than having no social interaction with people at all, that’s for sure.

Stay structured

Just because you’re stuck at home doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t keep to a tight schedule.

Healthy habits such as waking up and going to bed at the same hour, brushing your teeth, eating at the same time, and doing something productive such as working out all matter a lot.

Staying sane includes structure, and good, healthy habits.

Do something productive

Image of a man smiling and working at a desk.

We tend to get bored when we have too much free time and don’t know what to do when stuck by ourselves at home. We lament that there’s nothing to do, and we get stuck in a kind of victim mentality because we have too much time to think.

And while it’s certainly no fun to be stuck at home alone, there is another, better, more productive way to view the whole experience.

Rather than bemoaning your life, try to view this abundance of time you now have as a chance to learn something new. An opportunity to do something productive with the time you’ve been given.

Try learning a new trade, or a new skill, or read some books to increase your general knowledge. Start doing things that you know you’ve been putting off for too long, such as working out, and eating cleanly, for example.

The first step towards knowing how to stay mentally sane in isolation is always to realize and understand that social isolation is detrimental to our mental health, most certainly if it is prolonged.

But, as explained above, there are some things that we can do to lessen the negative effects, and possibly to stave off the short-term impact that comes along with isolation.


Image of a hand holding a card with the word “conclusions” written in blue.

Now that we know how to stay sane in an insane world, we can use it to our advantage to protect our mental health.

Structure, predictability, and meaningful social interactions with other people are all needed to stay lucid in the world.

Structure and predictability help us to make sense of the universe. Because what is known makes us feel safe. It allows us to make structure out of the chaos. We use it to make sense out of this extremely complicated world.

Since we are highly developed social animals, we require meaningful interactions with others in other to feel content and to stay composed.

It has been shown that people who suffer from social isolation tend to become mentally, and even physically, ill. It makes us feel more anxious, fearful, angry, and possibly even vengeful about the world and its inhabitants.

Call to action

“Stop wishing start doing” written on a bottle.

Staying sane in a crazy world is all about creating a predictable structure for yourself. And we know that it’s no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.

Make a schedule and good, purposeful routines and habits that allow you to reach your goals, while simultaneously allowing you to stay sane and healthy.

Create and maintain purposeful relationships with family and close friends who you interact with often. How frequently will depend on your personality, and if you’re introverted or extroverted.

If you’re currently socially isolated or don’t have many friends, then make it a point to turn yourself into someone who’s socially acceptable, and who others like to work and interact with.