This past week has been upsetting, to say the least. I can’t say I’m altogether shocked by the results of the US presidential election, but I am disappointed. At times like this, when the world seems so ugly and cruel, it’s easy to get dragged down to some pretty dark places, to obsess over feelings of helplessness and despair.
This is why it’s so important to have a mental health toolkit ready. It can be a literal toolkit, with things like scented candles, colouring books, and chocolate in it; anything that brings you joy and provides a distraction from unwelcome thoughts. Or your toolkit can be purely internal. There are numerous mental exercises (google Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Dialectical Behavioural Therapy), which will help you to recognize patterns of maladaptive thoughts, emotions and behaviours, and teach you how to reshape them. We can’t control what happens, but we can control our reactions.
For me, I’ve begun guarding myself from negativity. No more reading the comments on Facebook posts! Those things are deadly! Instead, I’m focusing on the expressions of love and support spreading all over social media. I am so proud of the thousands of Americans marching in #notmypresident protests. I also find it helpful to reaffirm the values to which I aspire and to make a promise to myself that I will always speak up when I see injustice. I will do what I am able to, as the saying goes, be the change I want to see in the world.
And if all else fails, find something warm and fuzzy to snuggle up with and know that this too shall pass.
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