Coping with both a pandemic, and this crazy political divide? We never went looking for this two-for-one sale; not even in days when consolidation serves as a social distancing strategy.
Yes, it’s one fine mess we’ve gotten ourselves into. Our fear responses pop out and remind us of it with every pandemic news story and hostile political tweet or post.
Regardless, we ARE resilient, even when we struggle. We have the capacity to cope in spite of the doom and gloom, conflicting stories, conspiracy theories, and divisive attacks that so many sources bring to our attention. The trick is shifting our attention to a more productive track.
Fight or flight wiring does not alleviate pandemic or political threat. We still thank our inner lizards for bringing potential threat to our attention. But we also assure them that the tool for these particular jobs is something other than what they have to offer.
Our thinking brain carries such tools, in the form of resilience strategies we’ve been refining from the day we were born. Before the pandemic, which coping strategies helped you keep your cool in the face of overheated politics? What type of coping worked best for your recentering and regrounding? It may work just as well for coping with the pandemic. Anything that helps your gut brain back off of needless catastrophizing is a win.
Meanwhile, here are some simple steps that help when slings and arrows feel like they’re coming in from all sides:
- Remind yourself that you, at that moment, are fine. The ground is still solid beneath you. Your heart is beating. You are still breathing. You are alive and aware.
- Shift focus to your strengths, rather than vulnerabilities. You’ve taken care of yourself this far, since you’re still here. You have the competence and determination necessary to go on.
- Consider whether there’s any good use for this surge of energy and passion.
- If that’s not so, let it go.
For more on coping in troubled times, see The Cogjam Effect – And the Path to Healing Divisive Community and Fractured Science.