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3 TIPS TO HANDLE POLITICAL STRESS AND ANXIETY

3 TIPS TO HANDLE POLITICAL STRESS AND ANXIETY


We are living in unprecedented times, and not just because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Political turmoil has reached a level not seen for many years in the United States and it is having a massive impact on our mental health.


The current outbreak has stoked the flames of a problem already developing in this country. The stress from our political landscape was getting worse in 2019. Last year one-third of Americans reported distress from media coverage, while almost that many said they lost their temper at some point because of politics.


This has led to ruptured family dynamics, severed friendships, and elevated levels of stress. Those with pre-existing issues like panic disorder and insomnia have found that their problems are triggered at full force. At Bregman Medical Group, we have experienced an influx of patients complaining about stress and other symptoms due to political concerns in the past few months.


Tension from political worry may develop into several forms of chronic anxiety. Living with this constant stress makes us more irritable, less focused, and has drastic effects on our relationships - especially to friends and family who may not agree with everything we say. Stress can even cause physical symptoms like stomach aches, headaches, and high blood pressure.


Politics is everywhere you turn; it's all over the news, on social media, and in the minds of just about everyone we encounter. What can we do to calm ourselves in the face of social discord?


POLITICALLY STRESSED? DR. B HAS 3 GREAT TIPS!:


Less media - The news seems to run with stories that feed off of our fears and biases. It is a good idea to stick to a few trusted news sources and keep that input to a minimum. This results in time better spent with family, hobbies, etc. Even though there is a pandemic going on, we can still focus on our passions and wellness. Play a board game, read a book, exercise, go for a walk! You don’t need to ruminate on these problems every moment of the day.


Reframe conversation: Sometimes we love spending time with a family member or friend but we may not share their political views. If the subject comes up, perhaps find a new way to talk about it. We can do this by reframing the process of our communication. Learning to talk about issues from a viewpoint of kindness, civility, solution-finding, and optimism can greatly affect our dialogue with others. Remember respect and agreement are not the same thing.


Agree to disagree! - Other times, reframing is a lost cause. In this case, perhaps it is just not a good idea to engage in political discussion. We should focus on what brings us together as people instead of arguing or trying to change the other person’s mind. Try not to debate or talk about hot-button issues; instead, find common ground about shared values and interests. Simply agree to disagree and get on with life!


If you tried these tips but still feel stressed and anxious because of political concerns, maybe it is time to reach out for professional help. Bregman Medical Group offers online psychiatry and various other mental health services straight to your smartphone or laptop. Schedule an appointment at www.bregmanmd.com/appointment/ or call 305-740-3340.




By BregmanMD | December 18, 2020 | Mental Health

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