EVERY ELECTION SEASONOur merciless message cycle begins to take people hostage. I’ve been a therapist for about ten years and many sessions, usually centered around my patients’ personal struggles, suddenly take on a political character – an argument with a racist uncle, nightmares about being fired for a rant posted on Twitter exaggerated Drink after reviewing Nate Silver’s latest election analysis.
My patients are not an anomaly. In a post-election poll by the American Psychological Association in 2016, 57 percent of respondents said politics had stressed them out. In another survey by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, about a fifth of people said they did or said something they later regretted because of political feelings. Another 20 percent said politics had negatively impacted their relationships with friends and family. I think of more than one wedding that was almost canceled because something was said at the dining table.
Why do we get into this state and how does it happen? There are many theories about it, but no matter what brings us to this place, I can tell you what is happening inside all of us. It could start with a push notification that takes you to Twitter to see what people are saying. Then someone caught sight of someone’s ridiculous comment, your blood pressure went up, you texted a friend to vent, and now you’re ready to take part in the races. The whole system put us in a feedback loop, seemingly designed to press our buttons and activate our stress response.
Having that response on high alert 24/7 isn’t just bad for your relationships and social media feed. It can be catastrophic to your health. We keep watching the news or talking about politics in hopes that this will ease some of those fears. But staying engaged can make it worse as we are unable to change the current political narrative and the bad news keeps growing. The more we feel threatened, the more our body relies on the hormones cortisol and adrenaline to survive. Constant exposure to cortisol leads to serious health problems: weight gain, insomnia, heart disease, diabetes, depression, anxiety – and that’s not even an exhaustive list. And no surprise, the worse we feel, the more likely we are to attack friends, family and strangers – or “add to conversation” with a funny tweet or comment. We seem to plunge into a frenzy with no way out.
But take a deep breath. There is hope of surviving this upcoming election season and it doesn’t require you to give up your smartphone and head for the woods. The truth is, there is no escape from partisan politics. People have disagreed on politics since the first government was formed, probably even before that. Defining the problem is the first step in solving it. In this case the problem is not a political conflict. it’s what we’re doing about it. Use the three tips below to improve the habits and mindset that can help you get through the 2020 elections with your mind and relationships intact. – Avi Klein, LCSW, is a New York City psychotherapist and co-host of Hey, Man – The Advice Podcast for Men.
Learn how to change the subject
EXCEPT AN UNFORESEEN Tragedy strikes Randall This is usThe presidential election will be the main thing on a Tuesday all year round.
But that doesn’t mean you have to talk about it. Why do you want? Very little good can come of extra conversation at this point. What’s the best that you can hope for? That you change someone’s mind Lol no The heart and mind are not won by cocktail party chatters. They develop over time through lived experience. With choice being discussed – and it becomes whether you like it or not – you may want to change the subject so that politics doesn’t hang over your social occasion like a lingering, harmful fart.
The easiest way to break free is to say, “You know, I haven’t been chasing it lately. Instead I was. . . ”And then literally talk about everything else. Or turn with a question. When they say, “Hey, did you see the debate last night?” You’re saying, “No! I saw the Rockets game. Do you think these guys can go all the way?” They say, “If mine If the candidate loses, I’m moving to Canada. ” They say, “Oh man, where exactly are you going?” You almost certainly won’t have a real plan; Void threats like this are just the way people talk about politics, and they’re another reason not to get involved. But in the unlikely event that you’ve thought about your American exodus, you already know what to say next, “Can I help you pack?” – Nick Marino
Follow a healthy media diet
BACK IF YOU You couldn’t get CNN into your cave. You have always been on high alert for news that told you it is safe to go out and get something to eat. They would scan. You would consume. Same goes for food. It was close; You stayed vigilant. Pimped up every piece you have. Which is a pretty nasty evolutionary habit to break. Now that we are bathed in an easily accessible deluge of news, we suffer from a kind of cognitive gluttony. We’re just not built to deal with what’s coming. Until evolution catches up, we have gathered top experts to outline exactly what a healthy media diet looks like.
Eat three media meals a day. *
Unless your livelihood depends on knowing every single nuance of every single news event developing, you don’t have to check the news every minute. Check out the news and your social media feeds once in the morning, once at lunch, and once in the evening, says Mary McNaughton-Cassill, Ph.D., who studies the effects of watching news at the University of Texas under has San Antonio. That’s it.
* As with a normal diet, the frequency and size of meals can vary with ambiguity depending on individual factors such as personality, occupation, and comfort.
Cut out garbage.
Let’s start with social media, because like the mini-mart’s checkout counter, it’s natural to serve the most irresistible (and flammable) stuff possible. Trimming back can also help you avoid the ugly vortex of pointless scrolling. “Lots of people scroll when they’re bored, depressed, or anxious,” says McNaughton-Cassill, and news content can heighten those negative emotions. No need to eliminate anything; Just don’t follow what annoys you. And if you see anything alarming, click your way through the original source, says Karen McIntyre, professor of journalism at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Find out if this burger is impossible.
Fake news, like fake meat, is really good at their game right now. While social media giants go out of their way to flag incorrect information, you can’t expect them to do the job for you. Refine your own BS detector. Improve your analytical skills with questions like “If I’m wrong, where can I find evidence that doesn’t confirm my belief?” says Michael Bronstein, Ph.D., of Yale University. Check out what the other side is saying. Allsides.com has links to articles reflecting left, middle, and right views on various topics. visit Factcheck.org, a website that verifies and refutes claims made in news.
Reach for something really satisfying.
First, fill in several credible sources. No release is perfect, but Knight Foundation surveys suggest that PBS News, National Public Radio, Associated Press, ABC News, and CBS News are the least biased news sources. If this keeps you cold, check out the growing movement in news called solutions journalism. (Find stories at solutionsjournalism.org.) This “flips the frame to show how people respond to problems,” says McIntyre. As you consume this news, you may feel better about negative news that you read later. – Julie Stewart
And if the choice doesn’t go your way … adopt this strategy.
At some point someone will win that election – which means many others will lose. Maybe even your chosen one will be thrown in the trash can of history.
If this happens, don’t despair. Resist the urge to buy a winner-shaped piñata. That won’t help. What will help is getting into the game from the sidelines. Start a little grassroots activism yourself instead of putting your hopes on someone else. March. To organize. Protest. Boycott. Write a comment. Run for local office. You are a citizen. Act like that.
Also, take solace in the fact that the loss of candidates usually lands on their feet. John McCain returned to the Senate, where he gave the decisive vote for health care in 2017. Even John Edwards recovered from the father of a secret love child while his wife was battling cancer. He’s now a civil rights attorney.
If you absolutely cannot quit your candidate, you will find a way to keep supporting them. But honestly, it’s better to keep going. Whoever loses the 2020 race will be fine. And you too. – Nick Marino