When You Can’t Turn Away From The Train-Wreck In DC

If you are more than just a little sick of politics, turn to Ecopsychology to cope.

For too many of us, the gripping news that breaks each day seems to break our brains, and hearts, as well. Is there a way to turn away from constant political turmoil, even crisis, when so many believe it affects everyone, in every way?

Everyone is affected by outcomes concerning healthcare, economy, an imbalance in influence and power, and of course, sustainable planets. But, there are ways to hit it head on, and be better for the experience.

The truth is, you may not be able to turn away. It is human to be concerned about your own life. That is good. It teaches us to be educated, equipped, ever-evaluating, and empowered.

There are ways to help preserve your mind, and even your discouraged emotions. The first step is to realize a historical truth: things often get worse before they begin to get better. Think of the French Revolution, WWII, suffrage and civil rights movements, or almost any conflict in history.

  1. Accept reality.

Things get terrible. Then people take action. Think of how millions felt the day of the election. Think how uplifted many felt when mobilization and activism sprang up like fragrant flowers from a fetid swamp. Practice mindfulness in the sense of being aware, present, and watching your own life unfold in connection to the life of the world. It’s okay to feel bad, or good, but mindfully observe, feel, accept, and participate in your own life.

2. Find unity.

You may come from one of those families like mine, who are bitterly divided among political lines. Find your common ground. There not only is common ground, there is strength and solidarity in it. For example, some of my family members think climate change is not man-made, or serious. But, in searching out their thoughts, we all agreed that renewable energy, less pollution, and green jobs are good for the world. Find this patch of common ground, no matter how tiny, and stand upon it together.

3. Be inspired.

Be inspired and in awe of the massive amount of public participation every time history confronts a righteous cause and courageous people step up to push compassion forward. Although it often appears to come in fits and bursts, the arc of righteousness moves in ways we can detect and appreciate. Stay informed about every group that is fighting for fairness and equality. Be inspired by the pluck and pride of every person who is a hero.

4. Be a hero, yourself.

No. This does not mean you have to have the humility of Gandhi, or the eloquence of Martin Luther King. It means in small ways, with tiny steps, realize that every choice you make impacts the world around you. How much you drive. How much plastic you buy. Whether or not you call out racism, xenophobia, sexism, or unfairness of any kind in a caring and non-confrontational way. Go back to point two and find common ground.

5. Take care of yourself.

Take care of yourself and those you love. Put on your own oxygen mask before directing others how to do it. Get enough sleep. Walk in the woods that is so wise and full of answers. Eat real food, not garbage. Interact in person with real human beings and all other beings who ecopsychologically support and sustain the life you live. This one is not my number one point, simply because every intelligent and well written article is already telling all of us to do these crucial self-care tips as your very first step. Making it step number five, here, is just a gentle reminder.

6. Appreciate.

While there are yet birds, bees, and trees, we must be grateful for all that creates life. Nature’s beauty sustains our earth and realizing our own ecopsychology, taps into nature’s beauty, strength, healing, and resilience.

In order to improve the world, we must all appreciate there is beauty, truth, solutions, cooperation, symbiosis, and a mutual shared attraction to all of the above. It is more than tempting to just sit in front of the tube and grouse. To lay blame, to scapegoat, and to get stuck in the rut of political slime is tempting. Stay there for as long as you think you need. Observe it mindfully. Acknowledge the thoughts and cares of others. And appreciate that anything humanity creates; from politics, to economy, to borders, to pollution, humanity can alter. We can cooperate. We can clean up. We can push for justice. We can innovate.

We can win the world.

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