In today’s divided social and political climate, it’s easy to get angry or anxious and wonder what the future holds. You might be worried about how you or others may be affected by changes that you are hearing about. And if you aren’t yet old enough to vote, the situation can feel completely out of your control. Worrying and asking, “what if?” can become emotionally and mentally exhausting. Some signs that you may be overloaded are:
- You worry constantly or have racing thoughts.
- You have difficulty concentrating on your daily tasks.
- You feel your anxiety or anger never really go away.
- You can’t relax.
- You experience physical symptoms, like body aches, muscle tension, stomach issues, or trouble sleeping.
As changes take place in the world now and in the future, seek ways to take control of the things you can. Above all, make sure you take care of yourself. Once you are taking care of yourself, you can make wise choices about how you can contribute to making the world a better place. Here are some suggestions:
□Focus on the present. No one can say what will happen in the future. If you are becoming overwhelmed about what could happen, stop yourself and take a moment to look around and think about what is going on in your life right now.
□Make some lists to help keep you grounded. What is good in your life? Write down the things you are
grateful for. What things can you change?
Set some goals to change those things.
□Seek out reputable sources of information. Many articles you see on social media or online have headlines designed to draw you in, but they aren’t always accurate. Search for the facts.
□Don’t be swayed by someone else’s opinion. As you attempt to be more objective about what you see and hear, you will begin to recognize how one or two words can spin facts in a whole different direction. Analyze both sides of the story and make up your own mind.
□Turn it off. It’s important to be informed, but it’s also okay to take a break. If conversations on social media, the TV, or the radio are sucking you in and making you feel more anxious or angry, then stay away from them for a while. The news and on-line discussions can wait until you feel calm again.
□Remember the “golden rule.” When you get into a political discussion, be respectful. Avoid making blanket statements, attacking others, calling names, and bullying. Know when to walk away.
Do what you can to help yourself and others, and remember that your future can still be bright, no matter the current political or social climate.