Finding Your Way Back to Normal

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When it comes to politics, one thing is certain: This country has been on a wild ride for the last several months. The election is over, but we continue to be presented with a roller coaster of events. And now that a new president is in the Oval Office, many people are expressing their support—or opposition—to his agenda. At times, it’s hard to cope with what appears to be an ever-changing political landscape.

Regardless of where you stand on the latest turn of events, however, it’s important to realize that some things in life haven’t changed. Many of the things that were important to you before the election are still there, like dear friends and close members of your family. When it comes to politics, it’s okay to express strong feelings one way or the other. Just remember that the people you cherish are still by your side.

Still feeling anxious? The following tips may help you keep things in perspective.

  • Take a break. If the news and social media rants are keeping you up at night, it’s probably time to get away from it all. Turn off the television. Stop gazing at your newsfeed. Instead, listen to your favorite tunes or get out of the house for a fun outing.
  • Channel your passion. If you feel strongly about a particular cause or issue, use your passion to enact change by signing up to do your part. Joining an organization of like-minded individuals is a good place to start. From making phone calls to writing to your government officials, you can make a difference and ensure that your voice is heard.
  • Be kind. There’s plenty of rude behavior and ill feelings to go around. Why not take a different approach and practice random acts of kindness? Drive an elderly neighbor to the store. Hold the door for a stranger. Or surprise a friend with tickets to a show. It’s bound to make a positive difference in your day as well.
  • Volunteer. Looking for a way to cure the blues? Start helping others. The world is full of countless opportunities to share your time and talents. From volunteering in an elementary school classroom to collecting food for the hungry, there is no better way to put life into perspective than to help those who are less fortunate than you.
  • Smell the roses. Life moves quickly, especially when you’re immersed in the events around you. Sometimes it helps to slow down, look around and take the time to appreciate the natural beauty that surrounds you. A walk in the snow. The first buds of spring. A full moon. Rather than taking these things for granted, slow down long enough to appreciate their beauty.
  • Express gratitude. While it may be tempting to whine about things that aren’t going your way, it rarely helps matters. On the other hand, a change in attitude goes a long way toward improving your outlook. Take the Pollyanna approach to life and think about the many things you’re thankful for—the things you frequently take for granted. Your favorite ice cream. A movie that makes you laugh out loud. Or the good feeling that comes from spending time with friends and loved ones.

David Lowenstein, Ph.D. is a psychologist and the clinical director of Lowenstein & Associates, Inc. in Columbus, Ohio. In addition to providing therapeutic services to individuals and families, he offers training and consultation to numerous associations, schools and agencies around the country. Additionally, he is a frequent radio and TV guest and a resource and contributing writer for numerous newspapers and magazines nationwide. Contact Dr. David Lowenstein at 691 South Fifth Street, Columbus, Ohio, 43206 or by phone at 614.443.6155 or 614.444.0432.