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Finding the Good When Things Seem Bad

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Most of us, it is safe to assume, have felt an some level of impact from the current political and social climate. The seemingly endless news cycles, radio reports, newspaper headlines, social media campaigns, and regular day-to-day interactions with colleagues, friends, and family bring about daily reminders that are hard to avoid. Whether we like it or not, this cycle of negativity can creep into our daily existence, and bring about unwanted stress, anger, worry, defensiveness, and offensiveness.

While many are feeling powerless in the larger context of world events, there are ways you can help yourself to create a bit of peace and quiet in your mind, and allow yourself some space from the noise.

  • Be careful of how much media you consume.  For example, even if you use media as background noise, the stories that leave one feeling hopeless and helpless are repeated over and over.  Turn off the talking heads of the 24-hour news channels, and take a break from the battling perspectives, that for many, only activate us.
  • Find your sanctuary. This may be getting outside in nature, reading a book, visiting a museum, or working on an art project.  Sanctuary is where you make it. For city dwellers, perhaps this is finding the cafe around the corner when you can finish the book you haven’t had time for and sipping tea; for those with houses and yards, perhaps this is tending to, or creating, that vegetable garden you’ve been meaning to start.
  • Do something for others. Research shows that the more self-conscious we are, the unhappier we are. Giving back in some capacity often leave us feeling happier as we step out of our own consuming thoughts and reflections, and improve the well-being of friends, neighbors, or communities.  Push back against the growing self-centered, selfish narrative that we see growing right now.
  • Be playful. Experts in healthy aging tell us that playfulness and creativity is as important as adults, as it is for children. With life being hectic, demanding, and uncertain, we often can become solely focused on the seriousness of it. Get back to some of those simple passions that gave you energy, or make time for new ones that you haven’t tried yet. Taking an art class, learning to knit, taking a continuing education class, learning a new language, or joining a community sports group can all be great way to integrate play and creativity into your life. It also doesn’t have to break the bank – look for simple pleasures such as board games, going for ice cream, looking at holiday decorations in the city – these can all be great and affordable ways to inject some joy and lightness.

As we try to remind ourselves of the importance of pursuing a good and meaningful life, we move into a healthier self. While it is of course important to keep ourselves informed and empowered with knowledge in terms of politics and social issues, we must remember to make the time to take care of ourselves in the process.

If you find that applying these tips still leave you feeling overwhelmed and down, consider reaching out to speak with one of our counselors today.

 

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"It is never too late to be what you might have been." ~ George Eliot