THRIVING in Politically Stressful Times by Dr. Norman Katz
This is a short summary of what works for some people in dealing with difficult political times. Each person must explore which strategies are effective for them personally through experience, experimentation and discipline.
Cognito Ergo Sum —“I think therefore I am” DesCartes, French philosopher, 19th century
Convivo Ergo Sum — “I celebrate in community, therefore I am” James Hillman Jungian therapist
is a much more healing way to live.
It’s an old axiom that “it’s not the road you walk on but how you walk the road” that is still true today. There have always been differences in political and social views of our times, and there are always people who remain healthy
and satisfied with their lives except in the direst of circumstances. We are not there yet, and there is plenty of room for self tuning to walk the road with grace and health right now. That could change of course, but for now
some of these eleven strategies might be helpful to you. Note that these strategies are all supported by research, personal experience, and practice.
1. CONGRATULATE yourself for doing as well as you are already. Whether you are an active activist, passive concerned citizen, or other, the fact that you are reading this and thinking about these issues, perhaps participating in social groups concerned with contemporary issues, is a major accomplishment! Have a pep rally for yourself, be good to yourself in ways which in encourage health, connection with others, and well being. do not underestimate the benefits of actively being concerned, being active and connected to other people taking action.
2. REMAIN HAPPY in spite of all developments. Happiness, according to social psychology researchers, has a two mile radius of vibrations that affects other people to become happier. Be a source of happiness for yourself, your family and community. “Don’t Worry Be Happy” or “Hakuma Matata”, life will go on. Be happy in addition to, in spite of, or beyond the effect of current events.
3. Find MEANING AND PURPOSE in your life. This rule saved lives in concentration camps (see Victor Frankel’s famous book, Mans Search for Meaning), in addiction therapies in vision-quests, and in shamanic journeys. It is the highest motivation, surpassing even happiness. Meanings can be small (one day at a time) or medium or large (start or finish your personal story). Clean that bedroom, sort those CDs, all count. Also see the bigger picture
from your past through your present, into the future, what is your life all about?
4. ENJOY HUMOR: in whatever form, TV shows, Colbert, movies, comic strips, satirists, plenty of fodder these days. Political stress encourages comics who are more active than ever. Some are silly, many are profound. The old human joke: Man plans, God Laughs is true but Humans have the ability to have the next to last laugh all day….find humor in your everyday challenges. PLAY at everything. Best definition of evil I ever encountered: Evil is that which prevents play. Learn LAUGHTER YOGA…started in India; there are 20,000 laughter clubs worldwide which are not based on jokes but on deliberately laughing to change your breathing which changes
your brain and blood chemistry in very positive ways!
5. DISSOCIATION: Disconnect from Stress through fantasy, imagination, and “that’s not me” responses. You must be You, not a statistic, role, limited identity or victim. You have survived you are moving forwards, and you have the right to disconnect for five minutes or five hours as you please. AVOID depending on drugs and alcohol for disconnecting. Addictions are not fun and bad for you, unless they are BETTER BAD HABITS. Cultivate three of those so you have a choice…like walking, reading, meditating, etc. Mindfulness meditation is the best medicine of ancient and modern times-learn it! Learn Autogenics (see NormanKatzPhD.com) a systematic medical meditation that tunes your nervous system used by most Olympic athletes, and it strengthens your immune system.
6. Practice MENTAL HYGEIENE, a concept from the 1900s. What goes in to your mind and body affects you. Limit your watching of TV news to a small part of your day. Be inspired by nature and beauty. May you Walk in Beauty, a classic Native American prayer, is great advice. Avoid toxic people, arguments and negativity. Embrace love, meaning, and positive input. Study Positive Psychology, the new movement that approaches mental health as a sport. Connect with social movements that are positive and visionary (eg New Earth: New You on Facebook)
7. Embrace ART in all its forms. Indulge in art exhibits, reading novels, culinary crafts, positive and cathartic movies, poetry and other arts. Music is particularly helpful in tuning your mind/body in positive ways. Go to festivals and gatherings of art and music. See 3SidedWhole.com
8. Garden and grow things, flowers, vegetables, ideas, your SECRET GARDENs…..Grow your mind and intellect with study programs with goals, learn more about your health and how to increase it on your own: see Mind/Body Communication and Healing Program on Facebook we are starting soon.
9. Get a pet or pay attention to your current pets. Animals are natural, wise, and loving. Connect with them, pet them, they are healing therapists and friends.
10. Cultivate your family and friends. Schedule regular gatherings, parties, dinners and your GRANDFALLOON—the family you create after you leave home to be a real person.
11. Exercise and move: we have as many emotional receptors in our hearts and guts as in our brains. use all three brains by moving, through exercise, dance etc. even a short ten minute walk has tremendous benefits
SUMMARY AND INTEGRATION:
You can have a great happy and meaningful life no matter what is going down politically/Create a safe zone inside of yourself where fear and anxiety cannot penetrate. You are hardwired to do so. Paradise is inside of you. Learning meditation, autogenics and martial arts may help you find that. Use humor, disconnecting, and mental hygiene to stay safe inside of yourself. Connect with others in community to feel the force of social bonding and support. Celebrate life constantly by yourself and with others. Enjoy the spiritual accomplishment of what you have already done to survive and thrive so far and share it with others, but congratulate yourself on being here now and in the future and open to change. Life goes on and on and on…enjoy it while you can and be ridiculously happy and fulfilled in your daily lives and continuing evolution as a person and social being.
QED. (The proof is in the pudding)
Norman “DrBlue” Katz PhD.
Mind/Body Communication and Healing on Facebook.