coping with modern politics – Film Stories

The world of politics seems very divisive right now, and it can wreak havoc on our mental health: some thoughts on how to deal with it all.

Hello and welcome to Mental Health & Wellbeing Matters, our part of the Film Stories site where we talk about, as you probably guessed, mental health and wellbeing. If you’ve never read any of these articles before, this is a place where we write about things that can affect you, us, or the people around us. Just a few thoughts on coping with modern life too.

We work on simple rules: not all the articles we publish will be useful to everyone, but I hope that in this series there will be something that will be useful to you. And also, comments are welcome, and appreciated.

This week, we’re talking politics. Because I thought it would cheer everyone up!

It’s not so much what your policies are or what you think of the world. Heaven knows there are enough sites if that is what you are looking for. But instead, some thoughts on how to deal with the helplessness that surrounds the surveillance of modern politics. After all, in the UK and the US in recent years there has been a particularly divided leadership and heated sentiment on either side of policy debates. Sometimes it feels like just picking a side is no longer enough. You also seem to have to hate the other side too.

What I struggled with for a while was opening a news page every day and being hit with a bunch of headlines that made me feel miserable like a sin. And this feeling: what could I To do? How could I affect anything? How much power do we actually have on our side of the fence, aside from an election every few years? I didn’t find any helpful answers. I still really can’t. Instead, knowing that I wasn’t going to run for office (and I really have a lot of admiration for most people who do), I found ways to co-exist a bit.

I found a small way to handle all this, and I hope there is something here that can be useful for someone.

First, I limited the amount of news I allowed myself to watch. If my head started to shut down a bit, I didn’t care for a few days and didn’t look. Even though I looked, I limited myself to one or two outlets, removing extremes and removing doomscrolling. Modern politics and modern news means there is a selling point that appeals to most, writing a version and slant on a story that also appeals to most. I went through a phase of reading the same story on many sites. I don’t do that anymore. My head is better off.

Nor did I go hunting for news. I stopped thinking “I wonder what happened in American politics today, I should watch”, and I was none the worse for it.

Also, small thing: I check that I am registered to vote, and I vote. Small thing, but I think it’s important.

Third, I do my best not to post a lot of politics on my social media. It’s not that I’m not interested – I absolutely am – I just try not to comment on everything. I have to be careful how much mental space I allow him. I have long concluded that my energies are better spent on small things where I can make some kind of difference than engaging in talk that makes me unhappy and does nothing useful.

Fourth, I realized that politics and politicians – again, it doesn’t matter which side you fall on – can affect my life, but I have some control over how I let them into my head. I raised the drawbridge a bit, and that helped.

None of this is perfect. You will probably have better ideas. But these are things that help my head a little, and I hope they can help yours.

This column returns next week. Everyone stay safe and take care of yourselves.

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