Another day, another stressful election. And they’ll keep on coming. Here’s an NYT roundup of therapist advice about just how exactly to cope.
[T]herapists report that many of their patients are even more upset as they struggle to make sense of the direction in which the country is heading. And many can’t tear themselves away from the news…
“Use your anxiety to motivate you,” [Dr. Stephen Hayes] said. “Think about what you value most and take action.” Taking action can help to instill the sense that you have some control over your environment — what psychologists call perceived self-efficacy — and leave you feeling less stressed.
With all the uncertainty following the November election, anxiety is spiking. Worry and fear can show up for different people in vastly different ways. Here’s an article that sums up some of the possibilities. If you’ve been anxious lately, something here is likely look familiar. Also, up top in the article, some simple suggestions:
- Make it a priority to connect face-to-face with supportive people
- Move your body frequently—don’t sit for more than an hour
- Get the full amount of restful sleep that you require
- Learn about and practice relaxation techniques
May seem over simple–but these little steps can help a lot.
Los Feliz is a deep blue neighborhood in a deep blue state. Right now, a lot of people are experiencing an unpleasant combination of lingering shock and continued anxiety. From How to Cope with Post-Election Stress (The Atlantic), come some suggestions. First, there’s basic self-care. Then:
At an individual level, people can check in on their families, friends, and coworkers, to see how they’re doing, and host gatherings or create opportunities for people to socialize and be together. They can donate or help organize or volunteer at charities, organizations, or religious groups that work in their cities and neighborhoods[…]
Ultimately, taking action is likely the biggest thing people can do to combat the anxiety and fear they may feel while waiting for Trump’s inauguration, and after. A trap that it’s easy to fall into is what psychologists call “counterfactual regret”—thinking of all the ways an outcome could have been prevented, how the world could be different if people had just done something different.
Can therapy help? Yes, it can. Call or write to get started.
Experiencing a spike in anxiety connected with the election? You’re not alone.
The American Psychological Association says that 52 percent of American adults are coping with high levels of stress brought on by the election, according to national Harris Poll survey data released last week. Therapists around the country said in interviews that patients are coming to appointments citing their fears, anger and anxiety about the election.
Both poll data and anecdotal reports show that the high levels of election anxiety are affecting both Republicans and Democrats equally.
Therapists nationwide on are on the case (including here in Los Feliz).
More help via mindfulness, this time for elementary school kids in Watts:
Mindfulness has been found beneficial for stress reduction, anxiety and depression, dietary challenges, addiction recovery, and many other conditions. Now it has found its way into a classroom where children as young as three are using its techniques to manage emotions and stay calm.
Using a strategy called Calm Classroom, Los Angles students, ranging from transitional kindergartners to fifth graders, are being guided by teachers three times during the school day through three-minute mindfulness exercises. The drills call on students to refocus their attention on deep breathing, relaxation, and body awareness.
Haven’t tried it? For some free, short, guided meditations, check out UCLA’S Mindful Awareness Research Center.
From the Recommended Reading page, a couple of titles worth highlighting: The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Anxiety and The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Depression, a matching pair of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) workbooks.
Instead of trying to take on and eliminate difficult thoughts and feelings, ACT encourages accepting them and getting on with what’s most important to you. Identifying what’s most important to you is a big component of the approach.
For a reading-free sample of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, try one of the audio exercises linked here. A whole sidebar full of free ACT audio and worksheets awaits at Live Mindfully.
A history, from Scientific American:
[Season’s of a Man’s Life author] Levinson felt that midlife crises were actually more common than not and appeared like clockwork between the ages of 40 to 45. For Levinson, such crises were characterized primarily by a stark, painful “de-illusionment” process stemming from the individual’s unavoidable comparison between his youthful dreams and his sobering present reality. For most men, life moves so swiftly that, by the time you look back at what’s happened, you realize you’ve already suffered an irreparable loss of chance and opportunity. This life review causes depression, anxiety, and “manic flight,” a sort of desperate, now-or-never fumbling to experience the pleasures one has long denied oneself and an escape from stagnation.
From Slate: Girls don’t start out more anxious than boys, but they usually end up that way.
When it comes to our preconceived notions about women and anxiety, women are unfairly being dragged through the mud. While women are indeed more fretful than men on average right now, this difference is mostly the result of a cultural setup—one in which major social and parenting biases lead to girls becoming needlessly nervous adults. In reality, the idea that women are “naturally” twice as anxious as men is nothing more than a pernicious illusion.
Go Easy on Yourself, a New Wave of Research Urges (NYT):
[R]esearch suggests that giving ourselves a break and accepting our imperfections may be the first step toward better health. People who score high on tests of self-compassion have less depression and anxiety, and tend to be happier and more optimistic. Preliminary data suggest that self-compassion can even influence how much we eat and may help some people lose weight.
From The Mindful Way Through Anxiety–or, rather, from the book’s website–some audio mindfulness exercises. (The promo material at the beginning of each ends quickly.)