Taking care of mental health during an election year

Question: I need help preparing for this next wave of elections. My heart and mind are not ready yet, but here we are. It's happening. What's out there to read or think about to prepare ourselves? I'm talking more about self-care and getting myself into the right head space. 2016 was h.a.r.d. to watch and live through.

One of the reasons the elections and aftermath have been so hard is because we are being inundated with media telling us to be upset and outraged.   It is draining.

This isn't to say that some things happening aren't worth being outraged about - as some of the stuff that has happened is truly horrifying.

But to be manipulated almost constantly with media telling us to be upset and to hate and to blame is not productive and it's exhausting. It's like having our fight/flight response triggered almost constantly.

Here is how I am coping.

1) I don't watch or read opinions anymore.  I watch a 1/2 hour news cast - that is actually a news cast and not a show where people opine about the news.  Actual news.  And I read the paper for news.  I ignore - all the speculation posing as reporting. I ignore all the pundits telling me to be upset. I just - read the news and watch a 1/2 hour round up show.

Believe it or not - I'm still well informed. Actually probably better informed than most.  I am not being distracted by the latest - eye catching outrage headline.  I just ignore it and wait until the real news reports on it. The result - is I am way less stresssed.

2) I focus on the good. I volunteer with the International Humanistic Management Association (http://humanisticmanagement.international/) . It helps me focus on good in the world. I get to interact with and collaborate with people from all over the world working to change things for the better. Despite the media making it seem like everyone is divided, the reality is most people are just getting on with the work that needs to be done. There are still LOTS of people in every walk of life,  optimistically working to make things better in their corner of the world. And these initiatives are amazing and both local and global in scope.  Feeling connected to all these positive initiatives helps me stay optimistic and to recognize the fear mongering in the media for what it is.

There is good in the world. Good people in the world. Don't worry about all the trolling designed to outrage - divide, demean and depress us. Focus on good work that is being done.  As Mr. Rogers once said, when you are afraid - look for the helpers. They are always there and right now - believe it or not - they exist in abundance.

The more we ignore the trolling and not get worked up over it - the less control the trolling will have over us and the more we can focus on working together to make the world a better place.

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