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.
My thoughts and reactions to the world in which we live...completely biased and unfiltered.