Featured photo by Brooke Cagle
We are in a new age where the inauguration of an American president has, to be frank, pissed people off unlike any other election before it. Millions of people are mad, to say the least, as evidenced by the protests and rampant social media feeds. But, the reality is, there is a new leader in office. This truth leaves many on the opposing side feeling helpless, as if they have been â€œdupedâ€ by the system. Some people call it â€œTrump Traumaâ€, but I like to call itÂ PISSâ€™d Off: Post-Inaugural Stress Syndrome.
Although the name is a bit tongue in cheek, the reality is that many people are feelingÂ PISSâ€™d Off. Symptoms include:Â
â€¢ Â Shock, denial, or disbelief
â€¢ Â Confusion and difficulty concentrating
â€¢ Anger, irritability, mood swings
â€¢ Anxiety and fear
â€¢ Guilt, shame and self-blame
â€¢ Withdrawing from others
â€¢ Feeling sad or hopeless
â€¢ Feeling disconnected or numb
Are You Willing to FindÂ Happiness?
So, the question is: how do we cope and regain our sense of emotional balance?
In this article, I have drawn from my expertise as a positive psychology coach and happiness author to identify seven practical strategies for how to cope with beingÂ PISSâ€™d Off.Â These positive interventions are for everyone. You can do them at home, at work, on your own, with a partner, a friend, or your family. In fact, connecting with others is another effective way of coping with stress.
1. Turn it off!Â To start, interrupt the constant whine of negativity roaring in from social media, newspapers, magazines and television. People must let go of their laptops, desktops, iPhones, and all other devices and re-involve themselves in â€˜realâ€™ (non-virtual) life.Â
2. Grab joy through positive action and give back.Â Each day provides an opportunity to recreate our lives. Positive action is one of the ways we can do so through joy rather than through negativity. In this era of constant negative news, some people genuinely find it difficult to focus on the positive. One of the ways of becoming more joyful and engaging in positive action is embedded in the statement itself â€“ ENGAGE! Find a way to become involved with your community. Almost every community has a need for volunteers and/or community service. There are almost an infinite number of agencies you can serve as a volunteer. When we help others, we also help ourselves and become more joyful.
3. Understand that sometimes, life and the world are not fair.Â It is all too easy to look around us and see that life can be terribly unfair sometimes. However, fairness is not really the issue. Perspective is the issue. When we focus our gaze on the broken and shattered nature of many aspects of our world, it is easy to become despondent. The same is true for the opposite and so we can shift our gaze and ultimately our perspective. With that, operating principles for a more positive life are:
Ask yourself how you can live a life guided by these principles and the world will seem far less unfair. As the famous Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu said: â€œThe key to growth is the introduction of consciousness into our awareness.â€Â
4. Remember that pain is inevitable but suffering is optional. This statement is simply an honest assessment of the ways in which we react to life. One person diagnosed with terminal cancer will buckle and give in, while another might react with a determination to fight and do all they can to keep on living. I have always maintained we must find ways to create our own happiness. Sometimes, we even sabotage our own happiness and this is why although there will be pain, disappointment and disillusionment, we need not suffer through those experiences. People need to be mindful, responsive, and proactive. Therefore,Â this moves us out of helplessness into hopefulness.Â
5. Take action. People often find that they have what we call â€œvoterâ€™s regret.â€Â Itâ€™s far more common than people will probably admit. If you have voterâ€™s regret, then here is the best strategy â€“ GET INVOLVED and do something. Join an organization. Meet up with other like-minded people. Read different opinions, not just those that support your own. Look for reasons to do something like go on a march, run for office â€“ or support someone who will. It is also more proactive to go forward rather than backwards. Pity parties and sniveling do not help you progress or cope. Participation in creating a solution can be positively distracting and help minimize our impulse to whine! [the word â€œOtherwiseâ€ is not correct in this context (Patricia confirmed). Not sure what you mean to say hereÂ
6. Making peace with disappointment through acceptance.Â While the current political climate is challenging, one can also find inner peace through acceptance. This is NOT the same as giving up. It is saying that â€œthis is the reality and I accept it. Now, what can I do and how can I do my part?â€ It is neither helpful nor healthy to live in a fantasy where these events are not taking place. That only damages our mental health, and makes our situation less joyful. Find inner peace for yourself and there are positive ways of doing so â€“ spending time in nature, making time for family and friends, exercising, meditating, praying, and getting involved.Â
7. Cultivating a climate of empathy, even for the opposite party, foe or enemy.Â “Opinion is really the lowest form of human knowledge. It requires no accountability, no understanding. The highest form of knowledgeâ€¦is empathy, for it requires us to suspend our egos and live in anotherâ€™s world.â€–Bill Bullard
Empathy is one of those beautiful gifts we can give to ourselves and others. It can be so easy to divide the world into â€œthemâ€ and â€œus,â€ but that only creates fissures that hurt ourselves and others. When we empathize with the ways in which other people might be feeling, we are putting ourselves in their shoes. We try to understand not just their minds, but their hearts. Many people are hurting right now. Instead of lashing out, we need to be reaching out and try to spend time listening toÂ someone elseâ€™s opinion or their worries. We all have them, but we donâ€™t always empathize with the hurt of others. Letâ€™s try not to make people our enemies, but rather our fellow citizens with whom we can make amends when we empathize with them.Â
The truth is, sometimes we need a dramatic catalyst to create shifts in our lives. This election is representative of that shift. So, now, itâ€™s up to us to create Post-Traumatic Growth (PTG) out of beingÂ PISSâ€™d Off.Â I always say:Â We mustnâ€™t allow ourselves to fall into a â€˜victim consciousness.â€™ We canâ€™t control the new leadership, but we can use our vision, tenacity, and our might to stand up for democracy through demonstration of our free will. Both sides of America, as well as the global community is feeling the new reality. Remember, you can find happiness because it’s an inside job.
Identity Magazine is all about guiding women to discover their powers of Self-Acceptance, Appreciation, and Personal Achievement. We ask that every contributor and expert answer Â the Identity 5 questions in keeping with our theme. Their answers can be random and in the moment or they can be aligned with the current article they have written. In that way, and as a team, we hope to encourage and motivate each other, thus inspiring you to Get All A’s.
1. What have you accepted within your life, physically and/or mentally? Additionally, what are you still working on accepting? Now, weâ€™re talking about resignation, rather stepping into, embraced, and owned.
I have accepted my perfectly imperfect self, cellulite, occasional whiskers and that the only thing I can control is myself–most of the time.Â I’m also still working on accepting that practicing acceptance is a work in progress.
2. What have you learned to appreciate about yourself and/or within your life, physically and mentally? On the other hand OR in contrast, are there elements of who you are that youâ€™re still working on appreciating?
I’ve learned to appreciate stillness, the art of doing nothing, and that when my depression occasionally rears its ugly head, that means something in my life needs to shift. In addition, I’ve learned that depression needs a voice and then requires action.
3. What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? Tell us not only what makes YOU most proud but also share theÂ goals and dreams that you still have.
Next to my two amazing kids, finding my voice has been one of my most rewarding achievements in my life. And using that voice creatively to serve and support others through my radio show, books, and documentary films.
I’m proud of not giving into the challenges of divorce, financial destruction, and functional homelessness during the recession is a sweet spot of pride for me too.
Lastly, my present goals include expanding programming on my radio show, writing a book on the power of love, producing a video series on Happiness around the world, and building a house. Oh, and aÂ couple of bucket list items include a trip on the Trans-Siberian Railway and driving through South American.
4. Of course, we all have imperfections, or so we think. In truth, we are all perfectly imperfect. What are your not-so-perfect ways?Â Likewise, what imperfections and quirks create who you areâ€”your Identity?
My imperfections, or special texture as I like to call it, includes nerdy geek and gear-head that resides within me who loves scour the Internet researching subjects for my show, raw land for potential real estate development in odd places, exotic cars, 70s disco, and a certain sassy appreciation for irreverent humor.
5. â€œI Love Myâ€¦â€ is an outlet for you to appreciate and express all the positive traits that make youâ€¦wellâ€¦YOU! In fact, sharing what you love about yourself will make you smile, feel empowered, and uplift your spirit and soul. (We assure you!) Therefore, Identity challenges you to complete the phrase â€œI Love Myâ€¦?â€
I love my smile and my looney humor. I of course love my family, my heart, my life.