Heart pounding, inability to breathe, sweating, stomach aches, sound familiar? I hate anxiety and I have been SO anxious lately, what is going on!? After taking to the internet for some answers it seems I am not the only one with heightened anxiety these days. After doing some research I found a common theme in a multitude of articles and reports dedicated to unraveling why anxiety is on the rise throughout the country.
According to Jeremy Clyman, Psy.D in Psychology Today, “This unsettling trend seems made up of heightened negative emotional states (sadness, grief, fear, anger, frustration, etc.) and pronounced worry about societal injustice, dysfunction and catastrophe. I dub it Trump Anxiety” With rising records of “Trump Induced Anxiety”, self-care and positive interventions have become crucial coping mechanisms for navigating our current political climate. Managing this anxiety on an individual level, in ways that are productive and healing to you, has become a tricky problem that many feel at a loss to solve.
“There is a fear of the world ending,” Elisabeth LaMotte, founder of D.C. Counseling and Psychotherapy Center, told CBC. “It’s very disorienting and constantly unsettling.” (Breitbart.com)
Psychologist Jeremy Clyman suggests two coping strategies in his article, “Since Trump Anxiety breeds unavoidable and righteous negative emotions… we have to channel these emotions constructively. So after the radical acceptance step, we must take the lingering emotional energy and intentionally channel it through healthy choices and behaviors… There are always only two options in this vein – suppress or express.”
While one should never strive to be uninformed, allowing oneself to focus on the micro aspects of daily life during this time is a perfectly acceptable tool to use for maintaining daily functioning and managing this anxiety. For those who feel moved to take action as a means to cope, there are many options available on the ground level to inspire change. Creating a Facebook Fundraiser or GoFundMe for a charity of choice is one great way to stay involved and feel connected to others with similar beliefs. Becoming engaged in community events and volunteering can also help foster interpersonal support and reduce feelings of isolation and division in this chilling sociopolitical atmosphere. Most importantly, taking slivers of time to practice positivity through simple actions such as taking a walk, mindful breathing exercises, and spending time with our pets and loved ones can make a world of difference. Spread the word and ask one another, what works for you? Open the dialogue and find connection.
As an employee at Berkshire HorseWorks, I have seen how working with horses and in the EAGALA model can help alleviate some measure of anxiety. Find a local ranch or barn that offers equine assisted psychotherapy or learning if you are interested in exploring the benefits of this therapeutic modality. For those times when humanity becomes too dark, spending time with animals and in nature can lend healing energy as a salve for the soul. The first place to begin reconnecting is with yourself and the earth.