Division. Stress. Anger. Vitriol. Just a typical day in America now. Let’s be honest…it can get to you—if you let it. And even if you’re trying not to, since it’s coming to us from all angles it can be hard to avoid. Even if you turn off the news, it may come from family and friends.
So, how can you cope with it effectively? Here are a few suggestions:
Limit the news
Ok, that one sounds obvious…but for many it may sound impossible. I know, you like to be informed. You need to know what’s going on in the world. Your spouse is a news junkie. I get that. The drama is amazing and can be very compelling. But decide how much time you will watch and set a limit. Change it up a bit and watch some comedy or something positive and uplifting. A constant diet of negativity just ain’t healthy.
Monitor your emotions
Pull back completely, when you find yourself getting angry, bitter, or despondent. You may feel very justified in your feelings but if you allow anger to get the better of you, you accomplish nothing. Remember, division is the evil one’s calling card so when you feel yourself being pulled into divisive thinking or arguments with loved ones, pull back. It’s a trap. You can still have your convictions but don’t let them come before your relationships.
Find something better to do
Remember when people had hobbies? Before we were connected to our electronics 24/7 people actually did things for fun. They tapped into their creativity. They enjoyed their past times. Think about finding something creative to do. Take on a project. When a lot in the world, or in your own life, feels out of control, having something you enjoy can give you a sense of accomplishment and control—even if only in one small area. It’s a great antidote to frustration.
Find someone to help
The political climate can leave us feeling helpless and frustrated. This leads to anger and a sense of impotence. Change this to a sense of importance by helping someone in need. Rather than bemoaning the state of the world, do something about it. It doesn’t have to be anything earthshaking. Perhaps visit an elderly neighbor or do her food shopping. So many people yearn for some company. The news and social media can suck away your time…use it for a better purpose. Nothing boosts your spirits like knowing you’re making a difference in someone’s life.
Play with your kids or enjoy a recreation with your spouse. When you have family over, avoid arguments by playing a good board or parlor game. When the conversation turns to politics, break out the Pictionary!
Pray for your enemies
Hmmm…perhaps enemies seems like a strong word here. Those who disagree may feel like your enemies but, in reality, they may be your neighbors or cousins, or even your own children. Pray for those with whom you disagree. You may feel strongly convicted about the error of their ways, but if that’s true, then the right response is still prayer. Even the worst person out there is not beyond redemption but they need intercessory prayer. Remember, St. Paul was once on the wrong side…
Pray for truth to prevail
This is probably the most important thing you can do. You may feel very certain about your viewpoint…and those on the other side are equally convicted about theirs. So we should all agree to sincerely pray for the truth. But remember this, when praying for truth you need to also pray for all hearts to be open to that truth, including yours.
Lastly, trust that God has a plan in all that He allows. It seems to me we’re living in a time of revelation where we’re seeing evil and corruption exposed in all institutions. It may seem to many things are getting worse. They’re not. We’re simply seeing what’s been hidden- and it’s ugly. Mary promised at Fatima that her Immaculate heart will triumph. Believe her and pick up your rosaries to help that happen.
May God bless and protect you!
Allison is also the Founder and President of www.CatholicTherapists.com, a nationwide network of dedicated Catholic therapists.