How can you cope with Brexit, Trump, North Korea and all the crazy things happening in the world right now?

A feature in the colour supplement of this weekend’s “Guardian” newspaper concludes with five pieces of advice.

1 Look after yourself
“Self-care” has become a cliche, but while it is far from the panacea it is sometimes claimed to be, it is a crucial ingredient in staying sane. You may be surprised how frequently even the most dramatically apocalyptic thoughts and feelings turn out to be down to insufficient food or sleep. Meanwhile, plenty of research testifies to the enormous psychological benefits of even a small amount of time spent in nature.

2 Limit your exposure
The straightforward advice issued by the American Psychological Association during the US election campaign – “If the 24-hour news cycle is causing you stress, limit your media consumption” – still applies. Every news update trumpets its own importance, but it hardly follows that each one matters.

3 Stop fighting reality (or your feelings)
According to several schools of psychotherapy, a great deal of the unpleasantness we attribute to external events, or to our emotions, arises from resisting them. It is worth remembering that “anxiety and similar feelings are fairly appropriate reactions, normal responses, to completely abnormal things going on,” says therapist Paul Saks. There is no need to feel bad about feeling bad.

4 Take real-world action
“Solidarity is huge and being active really matters,” says therapist Emmy van Deurzen. Any actions you consider meaningful will start to replace feelings of helplessness – which are closely associated with depression – with a sense of agency. If possible, keep the emphasis on those involving direct interaction with other people, rather than online “slacktivism”.

5 Keep a sense of perspective
None of this means the end of the world. (Well, probably not – and not just yet.) “Keep in mind that there’s a longer game to be played,” Saks says. Especially in the current climate, news that seems monumental today may not seem very significant in a month or two, let alone a year or more. “Not to negate the fact that real harm is being done now, but we’re resilient and, in the long run, this will pass.”



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