The nature of stress can be insidious. Especially when your psyche is bombarded with unpredictable blasts of unsettling and/or crazy news on a daily basis. Each headline can be like a tiny shock to your nervous system, putting you increasingly on edge and subtly raising your baseline stress level. That’s on top of the stress you already have in your personal life and/or work life.
Where you’d think that this would inspire us to get on the self-care bandwagon, the opposite seems to be true. Over the time that Trump has been in office/golfing, we seem to be symbolically folding in on ourselves – much like a threatened hedgehog who curls into a little ball to protect its most vulnerable parts. Check headlines…wince…curl…check headlines…wince…curl… (Please note the lack of massages in this pattern)
It’s like a massive behavioral psychology experiment. We’re unconsciously conditioning ourselves to become accustomed to negative situations and news, which can eventually teach us to adopt a state that behavioral scientists refer to as learned helplessness.
“Learned helplessness is a phenomenon observed in both humans and other animals when they have been conditioned to expect pain, suffering, or discomfort without a way to escape it (Cherry, 2017). Eventually, after enough conditioning, the animal will stop trying to avoid the pain at all—even if there is an opportunity to truly escape it!” (https://positivepsychologyprogram.com/learned-helplessness-seligman-theory-depression-cure/)
Noticing is the first step
If you notice that your stress level is elevated: not sleeping well, getting sick frequently or having trouble shaking cold/flu symptoms, increase in irritability and impatience, change in appetite, feelings of dread, or you’re slipping into the territory of learned helplessness/apathy, please, please, please do something to take care of yourself – on a regular basis.
- Spend time in nature – even 5 minutes a day can do wonders
- Limit exposure to the news or take a vacation from the headlines
- Schedule regular massages
- Talk to a counselor
- Take restorative yoga classes
- Schedule an Energy Genesis series or enroll in the Healthy Living monthly maintenance program
- Start a mindfulness practice
The cool thing is that once you notice a symptom, you have the opportunity to do something about it…or not. I’ve been observing that the people, myself included, who get in the Energy Genesis regularly seem to weather the craziness pretty well – they may not like it, but it’s manageable. Since, for the time being, Trump doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, I’m a huge proponent of creating a wellness strategy. Regardless of the modality you use, giving your nervous system the much-needed message that you’re okay is the best medicine for your inner hedgehog!