One of the aspects we have most enjoyed about our 5 years  as the Politica NC organization is the community of wonderful people who work with us, for the betterment of our state. Most of you are already heavily committed to other causes, work, family and more. And yet you choose to devote your free time to working with us to educate and inspire friends and neighbors about the political process in NC.

Since we started Politica in 2013, we have seen legislation, a lack of transparency and devious political tactics at the General Assembly which, while not new, have brought huge changes to NC. Through several election cycles gerrymandering has ensured that the state electoral status quo is maintained even while urban areas become more attuned to local needs.

With the chaos of the administration in DC, some of us are feeling disheartened and unable to follow the news at the state, national or international level.

We would like to encourage you to find a way back, to engage even in a ‘micro’ way. You are needed and you ARE making a difference.

Read on for more.

 

Post election stress disorder: what is it?

‘Mental health professionals around the country, especially those working in Democratic strongholds, report a stream of patients coming in with anxiety and depression related to — or worsened by — the blast of daily news on the new administration.’ But it isn’t only Democrats who are experiencing this problem, ‘a quarter of Republicans report that the outcome of election is a significant source of stress for them……People who are Republicans are afraid to tell anyone. They’re afraid that everybody thinks that every Republican thinks exactly as Trump does, and support every single thing he does.’

Read more in this PBS Newshour report from February. http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/post-election-stress-disorder-sweeps-nation/In this article from the New York TImes, Nitsuh Abede argues that Americans have long been anxious. In the second half of the 19th century it was known as ‘Americanitis’ and included fatigue, anxiety and irritability. Sound familiar?
‘Then came 2016, the year that brought us to a point at which — as the British writer Matt Haig recently tweeted — it is difficult to tell “where your anxiety disorder ends and where actual news begins.”’ Abede asks us not to hurry in search of a solution to our divisions, since historically such solutions often involve a disaster or a war.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/18/magazine/americas-new-anxiety-disorder.htmlMaybe you aren’t the only people feeling anxious! A study conducted across the fall of 2016 (before and after the election) surveyed white working-class voters without college degrees or salaried jobs. A majority voted for Trump but surprisingly what motivated them was not economic anxiety. It was three issues:

  • Anxiety about cultural change. 68% wanted to protect the American way of life.
  • The need for deportation of illegal immigrants. This was a smaller group but they were avid in their support of Trump because of this issue.
  • Scepticism about the value/cost of a college education, particularly white working-class men.
Read more detail in Emma Green’s Atlantic article.
Finally,  here is a 9 minute video from Robert Reich in which he provides context for how you’re feeling right now…..and suggests a way to fight back.
https://www.facebook.com/RBReich/videos/1723215677691021/

Some suggestions for how to fight the political blahs

In an April article in Psychology Today, Dr Steven Stosny gave some tangible strategies for coping with your post-eleciton blues.

  • Empower Yourself. Stand up for what you believe in.
  • Connect: Reach out to friends and family…amd Politicas!
  • Appreciate your ability to cope. You ARE resilient.
  • Get physical. Walk 30 minutes a day.
  • Write: Record your anxious thoughts.
  • Assign probability and plan: How likely are your anxieties to really happen?
  • Retain hope: anxiety often leads to positive growth.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/anger-in-the-age-entitlement/201704/how-cope-trump-anxiety

Lesley Alderman in the New York Times consulted experts on managing poltiical stress, they had the following advice:

  1. Turn off news alerts and watch the news only ocne a day. Limit your use of social media.
  2. Talk to people on the other side of the political divide. Be curious, don’t try to convince them.
  3. Taking action can help, even writing a letter to your representative.
  4. Volunteer – it’s proven to be good for your mental health.
  5. Organize a fundraiser for an issue close to your heart or connect to watch dogs on matters that are important for you.
  6. Be kind and polite. It helps.

Meditate. The Headspace app can be downloaded on your phone and gives you free ten minute guided meditations (by a guy with a rather attractive British accent…..)

Just in case you were starting to feel a little better about your world, this piece of dark humor might just set you back.
https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/10/09/nuclear-mindfulness