It’s hard to avoid the 24/7 news cycles, with every news outlet giving you repeated information about Covid 19, the upcoming, imminent election, political fights and overall stressful and overwhelming news.
It’s almost like being drawn to a horrific accident that you tell yourself you don’t want to see…yet can’t seem to take your eyes off it.
The problem is that as human beings we can’t pay attention to such things without our emotions being stirred up, with the result that we may very well feel immense fear, anger, upset and stress that we can’t easily shake off later.
The strongest emotions that people have been sharing with me are powerlessness, anxiety and anger.
This undermines our need and expectation that our country’s leaders will be honorable and trustworthy and that they will always put the needs of our country over their personal beliefs and power.
Today I want to help you find ways to protect your peace of mind as the stresses that confront us daily continue and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
So here are my Suggestions For Maintaining Your Peace Of Mind (as much as possible!) going forward:
- Limit your exposure to campaign polls, political messages on social media and daily news coverage. Unless your job requires you to keep up with every new development, turn off news alerts on all your electronic devices. Resist checking for updates every time you have a pause in your daily activities. It’s NOT because you don’t care, but because you DO.
Over-exposure to the constant details is exhausting and frustrating, and triggers feelings of fear, powerlessness, anxiety and anger. Stepping away from the news will give you greater feelings of ease, rest and peace within yourself. .
Exercise the power you have to influence the outcome in the voting booth, then continue to take good care of yourself after November 3rd, minimizing your anger, frustration and fear since the stress and tension from the media sources are likely to continue.
- “And we breathe!” This reminder and momentary pause in whatever you are doing or thinking really does help to reduce your inner stress and tension. How often? Whenever you think of it! Take long, slow, deep breaths in through your nose, exhaling through your mouth, and focus on clearing your mind and letting your body relax. If you can, focus on inhaling for the count of 4, holding for the count of 4 and exhaling slowly for the count of 4, pausing for the count of 4 and repeat. Repeat in cycles of 4 and notice that your system actually calms down. This is a momentary respite from whatever is going on in your world. (or the world at large)
- Find a version of meditation that works for you. Whether you practice traditional meditation, or simply take a quiet walk and focus on the beauty of nature. Focus on something of intrinsic beauty or value, without using any words. This is an excellent antidote to prolonged absorption and analysis of stressful and upsetting matters. Visit with friends virtually or at a social distance that is comfortable for you, in a “News-Free Zone.” Get a massage, listen to music, sing out loud, and when feasible, engage in your favorite sport, workout, or activity…choose an activity that allows you to release pent-up stress.
- Seek out people who can provide care and support for you, and activities that are restorative, relaxing and have a quieting effect on your thoughts. Even if these people are far away, and you feel exhausted by the extensive use of zoom, video calls, etc. focus on your desired outcome to connect to those who are loving, supportive and upbeat which helps to override your distaste for technology connections.
- Give yourself permission to set real emotional boundaries. You can limit conversations about the news, politics and covid. You can choose to walk away from conversations that feel too intense or upsetting. You can ask friends and family to change the subject. You can google conversation starters that are news and covid-free. Have them ready when needed.
Above all, before sharing your thoughts and opinions on the news, ASK if the other person wants to hear it. It’s upsetting when anyone shares an opinion no one really wants or needs to hear (…and we breathe…) You’re likewise allowed to ask others NOT to share their opinions with you!
- If you’re feeling the need to do SOMETHING to feel empowered, choose uplifting and meaningful actions. You might choose to volunteer at a food bank, a political action group, make phone calls, sign petitions, etc… choose what feels right for you. You might choose to support a family member or friend on their activities; that works, too.
- DO NOT get caught up in negative messages or fear-based messages. Angry posts and messages are generally self-destructive and non-productive, and they only serve to increase your anger, frustration and stress, and we all know we don’t need more of that… (and we breathe…)
Most importantly, understand that while you may be in a distressed state, remember that we can move through this time of stress and loss, by staying connected to the love and support of family and friends, even if it’s only virtual. Let’s all stay focused on what’s important in our lives.
For added support and guidance, I have extended enrollment in our Take Back Your Life Group program because so many people have been in need… You can go to TBYLGroup.com Enrollment will stay open until Sunday, Oct. 11. I look forward to working with you.
and we breathe…