Joy Jacobs J.D., Ph.D.

One More Bite

Coping With Collective Trauma

Five strategies for resilience in turbulent times.

Posted Nov 30, 2017

For many people, 2017 has been a year like none other. For some, it has been a virtual firestorm. Turbulent politics, hate crimes, multiple natural disasters, threatened nuclear war, and mass shootings have made the news seem like a horror show. The upheaval of these times can certainly send your nervous system on overdrive and leave you feeling hopeless and helpless.  

During these challenging times, it is more important than ever to actively engage in strategies that allow us to show up as our best selves. Below are five strategies to help you regain and maintain your emotional balance.

1. Get Support
You are not alone in your feelings. Sometimes when we are upset, we feel isolated and unique in our feelings. The truth is that many people feel exactly the way that you do. Now is the time to initiate conversations with trusted friends and family members. Build a nurturing community around you and seek professional support if needed.

2. Get Involved
If you are not happy with the political situation, get active on the issues you care about. Donate your time or money to victims of violence or natural disasters.  If you witness hatred, speak out against it. Make your voice heard. Your involvement makes a difference. You will also likely find a community of kindred souls in your efforts and feel empowered to impact the issues that matter to you.

3.  Be of Service
If you find yourself feeling down, the best way to get out of a negative mindset is to reach out and help others. Bake cookies for your neighbor. Treat someone to coffee. Call someone and ask them how they are doing. Getting out of self is one of the most mood lifting and powerful tools for a positive mindset.

4.  Take Responsibility
If you don’t like a situation, work to change it. If you cannot change it, try to find acceptance in the situation and do your best to mindfully and gracefully navigate it. We often have more power than we think. Work on empowering yourself. Take responsibility for your actions and focus on solutions.

5.  Take a Break
Sometimes we just need to chill out and take our mind off of everything. This allows your nervous system to relax. Reactive decisions are often not the best ones.  Remove any sense of urgency (barring a true emergency). Give yourself a break.  The most creative solutions to challenges often come when we are NOT thinking about them. Go for a walk. Go to the movies. Meditate. Organize your closet.  Listen to great music. You will return to your life with fresh eyes and restored emotional balance.  

The world needs you. You matter. You can make a difference. Guard your emotional wellbeing like your life depends on it. It does.

Google Images
Source: Google Images

About the Author

Joy Jacobs, J.D., Ph.D., is an assistant clinical professor at UCSD School of Medicine. She is an expert in eating disorders and weight management.

More Posts