Mika Brzezinski on How to Deal With “Emotion Mind” in a Turbulent Political Time

The co-host of Morning Joe stresses the importance of mindfulness.

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Given all the chaos coming out of Washington, the conflicts surrounding policy, and the anticipation of the 2020 election, today’s politics are undoubtedly turbulent, and our emotions are running high.

“People are frustrated, angry, and more often than not, hateful,” Mika Brzezinski, the co-host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” said in an exclusive video for Thrive in honor of World Mental Health Day.

Brzezinski has seen the impact on her own experience as a political commentator: When she gets frustrated, she says, her emotions “boil over,” and she struggles to articulate her thoughts. “When you are in ‘emotion mind,’” the host continues, “your ability to think clearly, with depth and with context, goes down.” Not to mention, getting locked into a pattern of anger and frustration can harm your mental well-being. 

That’s why Brzezinski asks viewers to become “more mindful in our political discourse.” Before a turning point a few years ago, when Brzezinski says she went “from mindfulness skeptic to believer,” her “emotions were often exaggerated. Too hot, too hyper, too eager, too dramatic, too everything. I didn’t realize at the time that I had lost control over my emotions,” she wrote in an essay on NBC News Digital’s KnowYourValue.com, a vertical she launched. Then she saw first-hand the impact that mindful practices, such as meditation, had on her — like the ability to tamp down reactivity and help her recalibrate or regulate her emotions.

As for how to put mindfulness into practice when political conflict threatens to steal your calm, Brzezinski suggests taking a moment to channel your empathy: “Our mental health is all about letting the guiding principles of grace, love, understanding, and acceptance prevail as we move through these tumultuous times,” she says.

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