Most people-regardless of political leanings/party-would agree that American politics and political discourse has entered a new age. Social media has profoundly changed the way we connect, interact and encounter the world. In the aftermath of the 2016 election it is fair to assume that a) social media will continue to be a divisive (and dangerous) element in politics, b) the "election cycle" is now essential endless as evidenced by primary lawn signs in February 2017 and c) people are struggling to balance their need for information and connection in an age of 24/7 info literally in our hands at every waking moment.
Five tips for maintaining good mental health in the age of Trump
1. Set media-free periods or days: The new iPhone update allows you to set timers for specific app categories which is great way to set some limits when and how we use our phones....and disable those pop-up notifications! If you're interested in more about balancing life and tech, check out "Bored and Brilliant" by Manoush Zomorodi.
2. Go on a "News Diet." All news media (from the left to the right) thrive on creating a perceived need for constant engagement. Think of how many "breaking news" stories CNN or (gulp!) Fox puts out there every day. Don't listen or watch the news just because it's something to fill the space or time. I prefer NPR's Up First as a quick way to updated in the morning. Something to consider: good old fashioned news papers deliver even better content without the media hype.
3. Join a choir. Okay, maybe you don't sing...but join something with other people that focuses on something that makes you feel good. It doesn't matter if its a local kickball league, a book club or knitting group, research and studies show that being connected to others and having friendship is not only beneficial to our mental health-it is essential.
4. Put pen to paper. Journaling and reflective writing is used by many to help process and organize difficult thoughts and feelings. Take that political worry, anger and fear that occupies precious brain space and put it to paper (or Microsoft Word). The act of of putting our thoughts into written word can help us make sense of what we are thinking and externalize some of that angst and fear. Plus it can help you refine your thoughts so at that next heated debate you're better-equipped to make your point!
5. Vote. Did I really need to tell you this? Yes, I know there is voter disenfranchisement, gerrymandering, suppression and all sorts of nasty, unethical and illegal forces out there. When clients feel powerless, stuck or uncertain about what to do in their lives, I often ask, "What's one thing you could do today that might make a difference?" In this case the answer is simple: VOTE.
Every Thursday in November I am sharing some simple and practical tips for maintaining balance, wellness and perspective. As the days get shorter, the weather gets colder and the holidays approach, it can be helpful to take some intentional time take stock of what matter to you and what is going to keep you healthy and well this coming winter.
November 1: Navigating our current political climate
November 8: "I lost. Now what?": Dealing with setbacks and disappointments
November 15: Knowing when (and how) to say "No"
November 22: Gratitude: more than being thankful
November 29: Menorahs, Amazon and a plastic baby Jesus...and how to not hate December
I hope you will check back and share your thoughts!
"Do you think I need therapy?" If you've asked that question to a friend, colleague or family member, chances are that you've had some thoughts, emotions or behaviors that didn't sit entirely well with you. And chances are the response was something along the line of, "Everyone goes through that from time to time."
Whether you've cycled through therapists over the years or assumed therapy was reserved for people who are seriously messed up, I tend to say that if you answer "yes" to one of the following, it wouldn't hurt to reach out to see if some mental health and wellness counseling might help:
Remember, reaching out to a therapist isn’t an automatic commitment for years of therapy. Most therapists are happy to provide an initial consultation so that you can make an informed choice about who you see. I'd be happy to see if my services meet your needs or provide you some additional referrals to explore. Schedule your phone consultation here.
And a note to those of you currently in therapy: if you feel that you and your therapist aren’t “clicking” anymore, talk to him or her! I know it can be tough to have that conversation but we’d rather have that talk than to have you sit through session after session feeling disengaged—or to have you just stop coming all together.
And for those who like quizzes, check out this online quiz from PsychCentral.
My thoughts and reactions to the world in which we live...completely biased and unfiltered.