Stress and Uncertainty Well-meaning advice for people who are overwhelmed by current events frequently includes advice to be patient, remain calm, and keep the faith. However, in the midst of political division and a constant stream of upsetting news stories, how are you supposed to do that?
I am a professor and clinical psychologist who has researched anxiety management and uncertainty tolerance. Ten suggestions to get you through this stressful time are provided here.
Put the phone down! During times of crisis, it can be tempting to stay glued to your screens, but the constant screen refreshes and doom-scrolling can become overwhelming. This causes tension and necessitates constant attention. In times of crisis, excessive news consumption can lead to poorer mental health.
You can do other things during breaks to deal with stress and vulnerability, get away from politics and uncertainty, and feel normal.
1. Catastrophe is not always the result of uncertainty.
Knowing nothing about the future, such as the outcome of elections or the next COVID outbreak, is difficult. Nonetheless, it might be ideal in the event that you didn’t accept that your worst situation imaginable would occur. If you’re anxious, as many people are, you’ll tend to interpret ambiguous situations as potentially dangerous. On the other hand, this needs to be more useful and accurate. False alarms can set off alarms that will keep you awake at night and increase your fear if you make hasty conclusions
2. Don’t back down; become involved.
Sensations of dread and nervousness can prompt a longing for security and disconnection. Although it may be counterproductive, this is a natural reaction. Engaging in activities that give you pleasure or a sense of accomplishment can help you better manage your time. You will likewise feel more in charge. Write postcards, knock on doors, or make phone calls if you care deeply about a race for an election. Managing your anxiety through these activities can give you a sense of control.
3. This will feel like it at times.
Humans are resilient to extreme stress and trauma, despite the fact that the stress experienced in recent years has been unprecedented in many ways. These challenging times won’t last forever. It will be difficult. Numerous individuals continue to deal with devastating (and sometimes irreversible) losses. However, it will only occasionally feel like this.
4. Don’t go through this on your own.
If they have support, people who are under stress are more likely to cope.
Keep in touch with your friends, whether you’re texting a friend about the most recent vote total, watching debates, or taking a break from meditating on current events. It’s a great time to talk about Ted Lasso or what might happen next season of Stranger Things.
5. Keep a solid way of life.
Albeit taking care of oneself can appear to be inconsequential, it is essential to keep a smart dieting, exercise, and rest schedule. You’ll be able to meet life’s challenges with this. Numerous mental and emotional issues are linked to insufficient sleep, which is becoming increasingly apparent. Sleep and stop checking your feed.
6. Help other people.
When you’re feeling down, it might seem odd to ask for help, but it’s important for your mental health.
Additionally, it gives you a sense of control. During this time, you can’t control everything. There is neither a magical 8 ball nor a magic bullet that can accurately predict who will control Congress after November. By making things better for those around you, you can help other people.
Make cookies for friends, check something off of a coworker’s to-do list at work, or thank them for their help as we try to deal with the stress. If you can, give to a political or other cause. Everyone benefits from it.
7. Deepen your breathing.
Each individual has an alternate approach to unwinding or feeling more focused. For instance, zeroing in on your breathing and dialing it back can assist you with remaining present and quieting the brain. Online care activities and unwinding accounts can significantly impact many individuals. Look at reviews of online programs written by experts to determine which resource is best for you.
8. Show sympathy.
We are experiencing stress as a result of ongoing political uncertainty, COVID-19 concerns, climate-related concerns, economic anxiety, global conflicts, and racial and other injustices. Between working 100%, getting into bed, and spending days hiding from the sun, there is a lot to do. 80 percent is my personal objective. A lower percentage may be achieved by those with higher strung levels. Over the past few years, almost no one has survived injury-free. Kindness toward ourselves and others are therefore essential.
9. Reach out if you require additional assistance.
Numerous resources can assist you in overcoming this difficult time if any of recommendations 1 through 9 fail.
* Lifeline 988 for National Suicide Prevention
* Crisis Call Center: Text HOME (741741)
* Look for a counselor.
* Get mental health care that is culturally appropriate
* Download COVID Coach, an app that helps you deal with stress and COVID-19.
* Take advantage of my free intervention to reduce anxiety: Mind Trails (part of an online study).