At the dawn of a new day, the morning light has a tendency to offer newness and hope. Yet, what should be a precious moment of optimism is instead the beginning of your anxiety.
It really kicks into gear when you check your phone and invariably begin scrolling through the headlines. Other people’s words and action can really cause your stomach to turn—especially when those words and actions are coming from government leaders.
Oftentimes, anxiety arises from perceived threats or dangers. However, if you are like many struggling to manage anxiety these days, those threats can seem awfully real.
How can you overcome anxiety during these shaky political times? Consider the following ideas.
Acknowledge What You are Feeling
First, it can be helpful to acknowledge that what you’re feeling is real. Anxiety often arises due to a phobia or fear. This is true even when the perceived danger may not actually exist.
Think of someone who has obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and is fearful of becoming contaminated with “germs.” The danger is actually valid, it’s simply exaggerated. Yet, in these shaky political times, your anxiety is likely derived from events that you see every day on TV and the internet. Which, can feel just as valid as the threat of a germ.
Perhaps it’s due to a new government policy or a decision made by certain political leaders. These are not abstract. They affect millions of people in this country and even around the world.
Therefore, don’t attempt to brush away your feelings (or let someone else do so). They are important to you, so acknowledge the anxiety you are experiencing.
Take a Break from the News
It can also help to take a break from the news—at least temporarily. Use the filters on your phone to turn off any news updates or notifications. Put your social media use on hold. Or, just delete the apps altogether.
Part of what’s feeding your anxiety is the constant 24/7 cycle that is today’s news. It seems like every other minute there is a breaking headline about what’s happening politically.
Furthermore, every news story only contributes to your anxiety, causing more stress, and making you feel more miserable. Plus, it adds to that feeling that you have no control over what’s happening.
Well, there’s at least one thing you can do, and that’s turn off the news for now.
Manage Anxiety Through Reflection
Reflecting doesn’t mean ruminating over your anxiety. Rather, a key point in overcoming anxiety in general—no matter the source—is understanding why it exists.
As mentioned above, not feeling in control is a big reason why people feel anxiety. So, now is the time to start taking back some of that control! You started by taking a news break. Now, try to reflect on your anxiety—why you feel it, and how it is affecting you.
There are several ways you can do this, including:
- Taking a walk by yourself
- Writing down your thoughts
- Going for a hike
- Practicing meditation
The idea is not to dwell on the source of the anxiety (you know where that’s coming from already!). Rather, it’s to understand how anxiety is impacting your life and why it affects you so much. However, this is not the final step in managing your anxiety.
Perhaps the best way to overcome anxiety is to use it as motivation for action. With anxiety, you feel powerless. So take that power back!
Obviously, there is still some time until the next presidential election. However, there are things that you can do now such as:
- Volunteering with a special interest or community group
- Communicating directly to your elected representatives (written letters work best)
- Spending time with those in need
- Donate money to causes or those running for office that you feel are important
To manage anxiety the real solution is taking back control for yourself. In the case of these shaky political times, that can mean finding ways to take action to overcome anxiety.
However, if you are struggling, consider getting professional help through anxiety counseling. Contact me today for support or visit here to learn more about how I can help.