If so, you are not alone. We read about it on Facebook or other social media. We see it on real news. We see it on fake news. We don't know what to believe anymore, except that many are getting more and more angry and/or more and more fearful. We are losing sleep. We are concerned for our family, our friends, and in some cases even people we haven't met before. However, if you are taking time to read between the lines, you'll notice that we are increasingly coming together because we seem to recognize the importance of doing so.
If you are struggling with intense politically related emotions, there are things that you can do:
- Remember that emotions are valid. Your anger is valid. Your anxiety is valid. However, it is important to make sure that the intensity of these emotions match what is truly happening. In other words, look around and ask yourself if your reactions are too strong, too weak, or "just right". Trust what you are observing. There are certain areas that you can control and others that you cannot. It may be wise to focus on those areas that can be controlled. Don't underestimate the impact and power that you have in the small acts you do. You never know who is watching or listening. You never know how you may influence somebody else based on one sentence or one tiny change in behavior. You never know how your attitude might change based on a change in behavior. One way or another, it all connects.
The most difficult feeling that one can experience is powerlessness. We can agree that in some areas, we are powerless. However, we may not be powerless in all areas. The more action we take, the more empowered we feel (to be clear, this implies non-violent action).
- Email you senators and congress people.
- Post reasonable topics on social media to start a discussion.
- Find out what others are truly thinking.
Remember, knowledge is power. Remember, the feelings are valid. It is OK to feel afraid. However, in times of feeling afraid, comes an opportunity to be brave. Control what you can.
Sometimes these feelings can be overwhelming. You may try to control them, but continue to fall into the “trap”. Again, you are not alone. Try some of the above suggestions and if you are still struggling with strong emotions which interfere with your life. Call us. We can help.
Michael J. Pollak, PCC, LICDC
Director, Dual Diagnosis Intensive Outpatient Program
Co-Founder, The Behavioral Wellness Group