Many people are feeling the sting from the announcement that Donald Trump will be the next president of the United States. Half of America is celebrating while the other half is worried about the future of the world's superpower and the lives that will be directly affected when he takes office in January.
Most of the world is watching in disbelief because of legitimate fears for the future of America and its people (notably Hispanic, black, muslim, LGBTQ+, women, immigrants from his rallies). We are glued to the screen, soaking up much of what we did while watching what appeared to start as a proverbial joke among Republicans. Trump aggressively played the media for free advertising and won at America's self-made reality show - a spinoff to "The Bachelor" called, "The President".
Those of us who feel hurt in our hearts for our American friends and family must take time to stop engaging in this year's political circus. It is seemingly unfathomable to get this 180 degree turn of American politics out of your mind, especially when you understand the negative impact that could come of this presidency, with evidence based strictly on his divisive rhetoric.
But you must. Even if only for a bit, you MUST unplug from the chaos.
Humans cannot survive without anxiety because it keeps us safe and is a part of our survival instinct. Only in the last couple hundred years have we created the technology needed to keep our fridges cold, lights on, and intruders out of our homes. Westernized society has been evolving for centuries in hopes of maintaining a structure of peace and equilibrium needed to survive together as a species.
Most of us go to the grocery store for our food instead of hunting wild animals with spears, which means the threats that trigger panic are no longer physical to our being. Instead, the panic button can be activated by perceived or future threats to our safety- and it's hard to shut them off because we keep our minds stimulated by inputting more information from polls or opinions from friends.
With unfathomable thoughts surrounding the radical instability that may be the future of the world, it's hard not to feel compelled to productively contribute to the conversation, but by tuning into every element of this election we are forgetting about our immediate surroundings. These projected, and very real threats, do not physically manifest in this very moment.
While reading this right now, you may be sitting somewhere with your laptop or waiting in the line at the grocery store with your phone trying to stay updated about various perspectives regarding election outcomes. This is because when we feel engaged we feel like we're contributing when all it's doing is keeping us away from the reality of our surroundings.
Log out of your social media accounts. Close your eyes. Breathe. You're allowed to escape into yourself by tuning out the influx of information that keeps our anxiety fueled. It doesn't mean you don't care about those affected -- it means you're taking time for your mind to recharge, which can only be done by unplugging.
Even if only for one hour or five minutes at a time throughout the day, shut off the news and social media and do something else. You deserve a conscious break from the alarm in your mind that is telling you to be afraid in this very moment. You are safe right now, which is what you have power over when you allow yourself to. For those negatively affected, it's easier said than done.
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