For two years, Americans have been on a political roller coaster, leaving many feeling frazzled. In addition to politics, we're flooded with a plethora of bad news daily. It's no surprise that many feel anxious, depressed, and depleted. Psychology Today calls this the "stress epidemic." If you're struggling to cope, take the following steps to help reduce stress and anxiety.
Cut Down On Social Media
Seriously, stop the addiction. If you're tired of all the negativity flowing through social media yet cannot explain why you can't stop scrolling, it's because you're no better than a drug addict is. Checking social media for likes and comments releases the feel-good hormone dopamine and FOMO (fear of missing out) makes us obsessively check news feeds. It's time to go cold turkey or at least drastically cut your screen time. You can't get stressed about what you don't know.
Maintain Strong Social Connections
In times of uncertainty, drawing on family and friends to keep sane becomes important. Social connections help negate some of the effects of stressful events. As long as conversations avoid negative topics, spending time with friends and family is nurturing and good for your well-being. It helps release the hormones serotonin and oxytocin that counter the damaging effect of the stress hormone cortisol.
It's all too easy to forget to look after yourself. The demands of daily life are exacting. Add to that sleepless nights worrying about how current events will affect that life, and you'll soon run yourself ragged. Things like eating well, exercising, and doing things you enjoy go a long way to feeling balanced. It could be something as indulgent as a massage or something more unconventional like keeping up with your horoscope or online psychic readings.
Learn to Meditate
There are countless articles written about the amazing effects meditation has on body and mind. It's not new information. And it's not just mumbo-jumbo; research and science back it up. Meditation practitioners have known for years that meditation lowers stress, reduces the risk of disease, sharpens the mind, and just generally makes you relaxed and happy. Now the scientists agree. In a world that seems to have gone mad, meditation will help you cope.
Focus on What You Can Control
A feeling of impending doom about things we can't control often causes stress. This is particularly true when it comes to events beyond our control. The scale of political and world events is so big that we feel overwhelmed and fear the future. It may prompt you to dial the psychic hotline for answers. Bring your focus down to what you can control. Worried about rising medical costs? Create a savings account for medical needs. If you feel strongly about an issue, get involved in some form of social action like protests or campaigns. Taking decisive action helps us regain some control.
We can't control all that happens in the stressful world we live in but we can control our own personal world. Fear, anger, and despair are emotions that cause stress levels to skyrocket. Finding a balance and being happy in spite of all the doom of gloom is possible.