Right about now your head may be spinning, you may be hiding under the covers, or you may be unable to stop yourself from incessantly talking about what is going on in front of us every single day. This is the Trump era. We all respond differently but for the most part, we are all responding in one way or the other.
Psychologists and psychiatrists report that their practices are booming like never before. The sale of nuclear bomb shelters is way up. Top dictionary look-ups immediately following the election included fascism, bigot, xenophobia, and misogyny. And 73% of Democrats, according to a recent survey, would be willing to give up alcohol forever if only Donald Trump would be impeached.
So what are we to do with this excess anxiety, depression, fear, loathing and rage? To begin, we must accept that the answer is to be found internally, not from external sources such as cable news, internet sources and social media. It isn’t much different from the “can’t turn away from the car crash” phenomenon except this may be more suitably compared to a train wreck. Not being able to look away from the minute by minute account of Washington’s escapades is doing you no good. Start by reducing the amount of time spent glued to the horror of the breaking news chyrons and with that saved time, learn to breathe, relax and create mental rest. Once you become familiar with that tranquil and healing place of stillness that exists in every one of us, the strong emotions will begin to lose their power and you will understand how much more control you have over your emotional state than you ever imagined.
Then make some decisions based on your own best interest. If you are truly passionate about the need for political change, give your time and effort to the cause. Volunteer, donate or even run for office. Just acting on your beliefs will relieve your feeling of helplessness and despair.
If you aren’t a political animal and just feel disturbed by the daily news, limit your exposure to it. Find other, more productive things to do that will make you feel better. Get more exercise, read more, volunteer your time for a good cause, or learn a foreign language. In this way, you will enrich yourself, not drive yourself to a perpetually frazzled state. And you will spend your time contemplating things that have a positive effect on you, and maybe others.
If you don’t feel like meditation is right for you, there is much to be said for simple one minute conscious breathing resets that settle the busy, beleaguered mind and interrupt the persistent drip of toxic stress hormones. There is a big difference between reacting to information multiple times per day and responding thoughtfully. The more you can control the reactive mind, the more time you will spend in a calm state. And the healthier and happier you will be.
Originally published at www.huffingtonpost.com