It’s rare that outside stress (from sources not linked to family, friends, jobs, health, or finances) has affected me so strongly.
Right now, the general state of the world is giving me fits. I’m struggling to calm anxiety that every news cycle seems to ratchet up beyond bearing.
Recently, I mentioned that the political insanity alone would leave us all with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Every day is a little more sensational than the one before it and if you value your peace of mind at all, do not read the comment threads!
I started thinking severe anxiety caused by the news might not be so far-fetched.
In doing research, I found Time Magazine, The Washington Post, Huffington Post, and several university studies (happening right now across the country) confirmed our current political climate is actually making many people in the United States sick with anxiety.Our current political climate is making many people in the United States sick with anxiety.Click To Tweet
Apparently, I’m not alone in feeling as if something has changed.
Politics has actually overtaken health, commuting hassles, and financial issues as the top stressor, according to research released by Harvard. Tension and disagreements over politics is leading to loss of friendships, divorce, and even violence in record numbers.
Forget being calm, anxiety is firmly in control. It’s not such a stretch if you’ve been tuning in (obsessively) like I’ve been over the past months. I’d be surprised if we weren’t stressed out.
Mute the Noise and Save Your Sanity
Let’s all take a nice, deep breath.
It doesn’t matter who you are for or against. At this moment, it doesn’t matter who ultimately wins. Right now, you need a break. We all need a break.
I’m a news junkie. I check in every morning with my cup of coffee. When I take my dog outside, I get another fix. While I’m prepping food, I have time to scroll through the latest articles or listen to commentators. Several times throughout the day, I check out what’s happening in the world. I overdose on it.
Some of the reports make me smile. There’s the occasional “feel good” story about human kindness, a dog reunited with its family, or a crisis averted.
Those articles are few and far between. The majority of news reported – day in and day out – is negative in one way or another. I inhale that multiple times a day like the majority of you who are probably never far from your phone, tablet, or computer.
I quietly crush down my anger, disappointment, fear, and frustration. I refuse to rage out. I don’t curse at friends and family. I don’t spend hours responding to fury (both real and imagined) on comment threads. I wasn’t raised like that. I crush it down and do the best I can (within my power) to prevent chaos and destruction.
In the end, you cannot calm anxiety if you refuse to address what’s causing it. My internalization is no longer working. Even when I’m not online, I’m thinking about it, worrying. I’m literally enabling high blood pressure, stomach issues, and severe headaches.
I decided that while this election cycle might be ugly, hate-filled, and seemingly determined to destroy average peoples’ relationships, careers, belief in the future, reality, facts, and common decency…I refuse to be one of the casualties.
To Calm Anxiety – Identify and Resolve
All this negativity has to go in a box.
Whether you disconnect for half an hour every day, give yourself a full weekend off, or decide to go on “radio silence” until the worst of it is over…you must preserve your own mental, emotional, and physical health.
A time-out from the 24/7 loop of lunacy. Disconnect from YouTube clips, Facebook rants, or wherever you personally get your news and allow yourself decompress. No matter what is happening in the world – now or in the future – you can’t do anything about it if you’re sick.
10 Steps to Kick the Stress
- Practice deep breathing.
- Engage in guided meditation.
- Take a walk outside and soak up nature.
- Clean your house (or rearrange furniture).
- Read a book (something happy).
- Listen to music you enjoy.
- Have a good cry.
- Journal or make a list of goals.
- Spend time with your pet (animals never judge you).
- Avoid the news right before bed or when you first wake up.
These steps will help you deal with daily stressors but to truly calm anxiety, you have to recognize where it’s coming from then isolate the source (if you can’t eliminate it entirely).
In my case, I’m giving myself 30 minutes every day to catch up on the news…followed by meditation, deep breathing, and a long shower to limit what impact it has on the rest of my day.
I can’t break my addiction to news completely but I can absolutely lower the stress from it.
No matter what side of the aisle you’re on, where you live, or how you intend to vote…please take care of YOU. The rest is just noise.
Shayne McClendon is an author and positivity practitioner. Shayne believes love crosses all boundaries, social castes, races, genders, and belief systems. If you are lucky enough to find soul-deep love, you should fight for it. Life-certified, reader approved.