By Steven R. Maher
Several websites recommend alternatives to simply freaking out over president-elect Donald Trump. My favorite of these can be found at http://www.calmclinic.com/donald-trump-anxiety.
These suggestions may help you cope …
• “Be Active. The single best way to reduce your anxiety is to start becoming a visible, physical force in politics and the community – not just on Facebook and Twitter, but in person as well.
Examples include joining local neighborhood associations, volunteering, calling congressmen to demand what you want, organizing rallies, protesting – whatever you need to do.”
• “Moderate Social Media. Social media has become a great way to spread a message. But it has also become a great way to become stressed out about the effects of a Trump presidency beyond what you can control, especially if you use social media for news. As such, limit your social media use. You do not need to avoid it completely, but try to avoid letting yourself fall into the trap of being overwhelmed with it – especially if it is frequently political.”
• “Spend Time Outdoors. You sit in front of your computer, inside, on the couch or at a desk, and read about as much as you can. That means a lot of time indoors, and while it sounds cliché, there are proven benefits to spending time outside and away from electronics. Indeed, studies have shown that even eye strain caused by looking at words on a screen can contribute to further anxiety, while fresh air, movement (such as walking), and natural lighting all are known to reduce anxiety. If you’re struggling with anxiety as it comes closer to inauguration date, make sure that you’re spending ample time outdoors, even if all you do is go for a walk.”
• “Stay educated. Anxiety can be controlled through education. We see this with panic attacks. Panic attacks are often triggered by physical sensations – for example, you may feel some mild chest pain. This causes the body to rush with adrenaline worried that the chest pain is something more serious, like a heart attack. Then, when you learn how and why anxiety causes chest pain, it can have a calming effect on your anxiety in the future. Understanding the process, then, can help you know what you should worry about and what you should not. It tells you more about what you can do to create change. It tells you what hope you have and what the process is.”
Holiday party/dinner talking tip: Inevitably, many of our readers will face a crazy uncle or aunt who wants to boast proudly at a Holiday dinner of how big a victory Trump had. The best way to silence such individuals, or make them apoplectic, is to say more Americans voted for Clinton than for Trump, and its high time to abolish the electoral college.
Beware that this will be rhetorically equivalent to dropping the atom bomb. Trump voters have difficulties at times accepting reality, and this is the fact they hate to hear most. Then remember what Senator Abraham Ribicoff said to the 1968 Democratic convention, when Mayor Richard Daley shouted obscenities after Ribicoff told the convention, “If we had McGovern, we wouldn’t have Gestapo tactics on the streets of Chicago.” Daley and his stooges were on their feet, shouting obscenities and anti-Semitic remarks at Ribicoff.
“How hard it is to accept the truth, how hard it is,” replied Ribicoff.