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5 Ways To Find Your ZEN Amid These Exhausting, Craaazy Political Times

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Reduce your politically-driven crazies!

There is simply no getting around it. We are currently drowning in a defensive, fearful, angry, and belittling political climate. We are bombarded daily by an overload of information at every turn. Taking care of our physical and emotional well-being needs to again become a top priority at times like this.

By this point, you may have read my previous blog posts on the importance of limiting screen time to ensure the physical, intellectual, and emotional health of children and adults alike. Now more than ever, it is critical that we take precautions in relation to what we expose ourselves to on a daily basis.

A recent survey by National Public Radio revealed that many users of social media feel a combination of resignation, overwhelm, and anger.

Regardless of who they voted for in the recent election, many people were shocked by the level of insults and reported dismay at not being able to have a meaningful, honest, and respectful dialogue through the outlet of social media. The high levels of negative information on social media have been linked to heightened stress and anxiety.

Sound familiar?

As I've discussed before, exposure to chronic stress can negatively impact our memory, our ability to focus and make decisions, and our physical health and well-being. It also increases symptoms of emotional distress, including anxiety and depression.

So, how can you protect yourself from political stress in today's vitriolic environment while remaining educated and informed?

1. Limit exposure time.


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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American spends 2.8 hours watching T.V. daily. This does not include time spent scrolling through Facebook, Twitter, or reading endless newsfeed alerts or emails. This is a lot of time spent stimulating the fear centers of our brains!

No matter what your political stance, when over 50 percent of social media posts currently are political, you're bound to come across newsfeeds that instill anger, fear or resentment. 

So, limit your screen time to one hour per day. Yes, you're reading correctly! This is more than enough time to check social media, watch some news, or read an article or two. Any more time than that and you're risking being overloaded by negative content.

2. Surround yourself with positive people.

Have you ever heard, "Show me your friends and I'll tell you who you are?" I have fond memories of my grandmother reminding me of this, along with a cautionary comment about rising or sinking to what is around us.

So, surround yourself with positive, calm people and you will tend to be calm and positive as well. Likewise, if you spend time with critical, negative, argumentative, or gossipy people you are likely to be the same. You might be drawn into the drama or excitement of a gossip session or argument, but you will surely pay a high price.

In this political climate, it is wise to think twice before jumping into a political discussion. It is worthwhile to ask yourself if this conversation will be meaningful to you and if it will lead to an emotion that is healthy for you. If the answer is "no", then disengage and walk away.

3. Use your smartphone judiciously. 


Primogif

We are all connected 24/7. We have laptops, iPhones, iPads, tablets, and more! We can connect to SM, email, text conversations, and newsfeeds anywhere at any time. We are bombarded wth instant content that we must react to and respond to immediately.

Research clearly shows that the process of over engagement with screens is in itself addictive and causes tremendous health risks, anxiety, and stress. So, take some steps toward balance in this area:

  • Move your social media apps to the most distant area of your screen and consider putting them in their own folder.
  • Set your emails to be sure that fetch data is set to manual.
  • Get in the habit of using Airplane Mode and Do Not Disturb. Keep those pings, dings, and notifications in their place!

4. Be present.

I am so tired of everything being "Breaking News!" You? All of the conversations, information, and news make it very difficult to live in the present and enjoy life. Start taking a bit of time every day to take care yourself and be in the moment. Perhaps taking a minute to breathe a few times a day, notice what you see around you.

Maybe for you, it's important to get outdoors, even if only for a five-minute walk. Perhaps you need to take a moment to be grateful, to focus on what went well today. Reconnect with yourself and figure out what you need to stay in the present. Then... give that to yourself!

5. Take care of yourself.


Gurl

Being present and improving your well-being are clearly linked. Be sure to protect your health and well-being by monitoring how watching the news or surfing the internet affects your emotions and stress level. If you find you are moving in a negative direction, change what you're doing.

Put you and those close to you first!

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