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Featured Self Help

Note To Self: I Am Enough

Psychologists describe self-esteem as a person’s overall sense of worth or value. It is a measure of how much you appreciate and like yourself, including how you look and what you believe about yourself (“I am loved” vs. “I am worthless”).

Your self-esteem can affect whether you:

  • Like and value yourself as a person
  • Are able to make decisions and assert yourself
  • Recognize your strengths and positive traits about yourself
  • Feel and able to try new and difficult things
  • Show kindness towards yourself
  • Move on from past mistakes without blaming yourself unfairly
  • Take the time you need for yourself
  • Believe that you matter and are good enough
  • Believe that you deserve happiness
Self-esteem and Mental Health

Having low self-esteem isn’t a mental health problem in itself, but the two are closely linked. If many things affect your self-esteem for a prolonged period of time (such as being bullied or abused, losing your job, relationship problems, poor body image, etc.) then it might lead to mental health problems like depression or anxiety.

If you are starting to look down on yourself because of circumstances around you, here are some ways you can overcome that feeling and improve your self-esteem:

1. Practice self-compassion

Whenever you feel like you are not able to meet the expectations you have for yourself, please don’t beat yourself up. Learn to be gentle with yourself by learning self-forgiveness, and recognize that you are only human.

Read more about our blog post on practicing self-compassion here

2. Take care of your physical health.

Poor sleep and eating habits, lack of exercise, drinking too much alcohol, and using recreational drugs — all of these can you make you look and feel bad.

3. Spend time outdoors.

Studies have shown that spending time in nature can help with mental problems like anxiety and depression; if combined with physical activities like hiking or walking, it can make you feel good about what your body can do and turn the focus away from what your body should look like. Furthermore, because most outdoor activities involve groups of people, you also improve social interactions and gain a support group that you can turn to whenever you need a self-esteem boost.

However, with the extended lockdowns, going out may not be the best option right now. Hence, you can bring the outdoors to the indoors by cultivating a green space in your home.

4. Appreciate the good.

Always celebrate your successes and wins, no matter how small they are. Accept compliments graciously instead of acting self-deprecating. If anyone says something malicious or unkind, don’t focus on it even if it’s difficult to do most of the time.

5. Learn to say “NO.”

Set your limits and be firm. Frequently doing things that you don’t want to do to please other people can drain your energy and even crush your spirit.

6. Find a hobby that you enjoy.

Whether it’s baking or mountain biking, do it often to the point that you become quite good at it. When you learn something new or find ways to improve yourself, you will feel better.

7. Try volunteering.

Spend time helping out your favorite cause. Doing good for others and the community gives you a natural sense of accomplishment and boosts your self-confidence, self-esteem, and life satisfaction.

8. Talk to someone.

If you are going through a tough time, turn to friends and family for comfort, support, or advice. If you need the assistance of a mental health professional, there are a lot of mental health organizations online that you can consult.

MINDNATION IS HERE

Do you need someone to speak to? MindNation psychologists are WellBeing Coaches are available 24/7. Book a session now thru bit.ly/mn-chat.

Written by Jac of Mindnation

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Featured Self Help

Note To Self: Believing in Myself is Key

When you come across a challenging situation, how do you react?

Do you feel confident that you can eventually figure out a way to accomplish it?

Or do you feel intimidated and want to throw in the towel without even trying?

Your answer lies in how much self-efficacy you possess.

Self-efficacy is defined as a person’s belief in his or her ability to succeed in a particular situation. It may be a general kind (i.e. Your overall faith in yourself) or be more specific (i.e. Academic, parenting, or sports).

Self-efficacy is related to but NOT the same as the following concepts:

Self-efficacy and self-esteem.

Self-esteem is defined as a general or overall feeling of one’s worth or value. It is focused more on “being” (i.e. the feeling that you are perfectly acceptable as you are), while self-efficacy is more focused on “doing” (i.e. the feeling that you are up for a challenge).

Having high self-worth can definitely improve your sense of self-efficacy, while high self-efficacy can contribute to your overall value or worth.

Self-efficacy and self-regulation.

Self-regulation involves controlling your behavior, emotions, and thoughts on the pursuit of long-term goals. In short, it is a strategy for achieving your goals, while self-efficacy is the belief that you can accomplish those goals.

Self-efficacy and motivation

The former is based on your belief in your capacity to achieve something, while the latter is your desire to achieve it. Those with high self-efficacy often have high motivation and vice versa, though it is not always the case.

Self-efficacy and resilience.

Resilience is our capability to recover quickly from difficulties. People with a high level of efficacy are more likely to try again after encountering failure, thereby increasing their resilience.

Self-efficacy and confidence

In his book “Self-Efficacy: The Exercise of Control” Canadian-American psychologist and one of the world’s leading experts on self-efficacy Albert Bandura defines “confidence” as “a non-descript term that refers to strength of belief but does not necessarily specify what the certainty is about.” On the other hand, self-efficacy is more specific — it is the certainty that one can deal with any situation handed to them. Someone who is highly confident in his abilities will be more likely to succeed, thereby providing him with experiences to develop his self-efficacy. This high self-efficacy, in turn, gives him more confidence in himself.

Self-efficacy and mental health

According to Dr. Bandura, “a person’s self-efficacy influences what coping behavior he will utilize when he encounters stress and challenges, along with determining how much effort will be expended to reach one’s goals and for how long those goals will be pursued.” He adds that people with a strong sense of self-efficacy remain optimistic and confident in their abilities even when things become difficult. They treat problems as challenges rather than threats, and if they fail, they redouble their efforts and look for new ways to succeed. They also tend to be more interested in the tasks they pursue.

On the other hand, Dr. Bandura says that those who are low in self-efficacy tend to avoid difficult tasks and set goals, and have low levels of commitment to the ones they do make. When setbacks happen, they tend to give up quickly. Stressful situations become hard to deal with and they are more likely to experience feelings of failure and despondency.

How to develop self-efficacy

You can improve your sense of self-efficacy by learning how to minimize stress and elevate your mood when faced with challenging tasks. Below are some ways:

Observe others.

According to Dr. Bandura, vicarious experiences obtained through peer modelling is an important way to establish and strengthen self-efficacy. Keep company with people who have high self-efficacy so that when you see them putting in effort and succeeding, you increase your belief in your own ability to succeed as well.

Seek positive affirmations.

Hearing constructive criticism or positive feedback from others can boost your confidence in your abilities and help improve your sense of self-efficacy. In this regard, avoid asking feedback from people who you know are more likely to have a negative or critical view of your performance.

Pay attention to your thoughts and emotions.

Do you find yourself getting stressed out or nervous before a challenging event?

Do negative thoughts enter your mind when you struggle to accomplish something?

If yes, you might feel less sure of your ability to cope with the task at hand. Look for ways to ease your stress levels so that you feel more confident; also, replace negative thoughts with positive self-talk to promote self-belief

Because life is full of stressful moments and challenges, having a high level of self-efficacy can help you deal with these difficulties more effectively. Your belief in your abilities can influence your motivations, the amount of effort you will put into accomplishing your goals, and your personal sense of well-being.

Written by Jacq of Mindnation

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Featured Self Help

4 Ways To Stop Feeling Guilty

Guilt is defined as a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, crime, wrong, etc., whether real or imagined. It’s okay to feel guilty if you know you really did something wrong because it will motivate you to correct your mistakes. However, if you simply think that you should feel guilty, or, worse, that you deserve to feel guilty over something that you said or did, then you are only tormenting and yourself.

Below are some ways you can avoid becoming overwhelmed by irrational guilt:

1. Let the past stay in the past

If your feeling of guilt is connected to an event that you were involved with in the past, then you should learn to accept that it has already happened and there is nothing more you can do about it. An example – you feel guilty because you survived an accident while your companions did not. Feeling bad will not change the outcome; the only way forward is to accept reality, learn from your mistakes, and move on.

2. Realize that nobody is perfect

As the saying goes, to err is human. Everyone commits wrongdoings, whether slight or significant, that he or she will regret later on. Instead of beating yourself up for being less than perfect, focus your efforts on not repeating the same mistakes in the future.

3. Practice self-compassion

We are our own worst critics, and more often than not we will not hesitate to beat ourselves over our mistakes, perceived or otherwise. One way you can be kinder to yourself is to imagine your mistakes happening to a close friend or loved one – would you want him or her to feel the same degree of guilt as you do now? If your answer is no, give yourself the same treatment you would want for that other person.

4. Express your bad feelings in writing or talking

If you are constantly plagued by shame and regret, try to journal your feelings every day so you can build awareness and pinpoint what exactly is causing those guilty feelings. Then you can find ways to deal with it. Studies show that journaling is a very helpful tool in managing your mental health as it helps you deal with overwhelming emotions, and helps you find a healthy way to express yourself. You can also consider seeking help from your loved ones or professional help. These people can give advice on how you can overcome your guilt.

Mindnation psychologists are available for teletherapy sessions 24/7. Book a session now thru bit.ly/mn-chat.

No matter the cause, living with guilt has never been good for one’s mental health. Learn to be kind to yourself by practicing self-forgiveness, letting go of your past regrets, and moving forward.

Written by Jac of Mindnation

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Featured Get Inspired Self Help

7 Things You Can Do To Effectively Deal with Unexpected Situations

Some of the unexpected things that we encounter in life can be pleasant – surprise birthday parties, random acts of kindness from strangers, or a rainbow appearing after a downpour.

But distressing things can also occur without warning — traffic accidents, the loss of a job, or the death of a loved one.

As human beings, our instinct is to respond to these events with panic, anger, fear, or frustration. There is nothing wrong with feeling bad, but when we let these negative emotions get the best of us, we cause the executive network of our brain (which is responsible for problem solving) to constrict and work less effectively.

So instead of running around in a panic or falling into despair, we should try our best to keep ourselves calm and be patient so that our brain can come up with solutions to these problems.

Below are some ways can we control our response and channel positive emotions in the face of unexpected stress:

1. Accept that unexpected events are a part of life

As humans, we thrive on routine and predictability; but not only are the occasional mishaps unavoidable, they are inevitable. Once you begin to learn how to acknowledge this fact of life, you will find unexpected events and experiences less troubling, and you will become more receptive to deal with them when they happen. 

2. Keep calm

When faced with an unexpected twist of fate, try your best to resist the instinct to launch into a tirade or run around in a panicked state. One shift you can do to keep yourself calm is to practice mindful breathing, you can do this by first closing your eyes, then begin taking a deep breath, and followed by exhaling slowly. Do this for 10 counts. Once you noticed that you were able to slow down your heart rate, open your eyes and try your best to take on the situation with a fresh mindset. 

3. Look at it from another point of view

Maybe what happened is just a minor incident that’s not as bad as you initially thought? Maybe it’s something temporary that can be fixed in the long run? Getting fired from work could even turn out well, as you might even find a better and more satisfying job. Even if what happened is unequivocally a major disaster, like your house burning down, taking a pause will at least abate your temper or panic and help you calm down long enough to formulate a better response.

4. Don’t take it personally

When something happens, do not immediately label it as “good” or “bad”; it is your response to the situation that determines whether the event becomes positive or negative. For example, if your partner breaks up with you and you blame yourself, become despondent, or think that no one will ever love you anymore, then the break-up becomes something negative. But if you accept that it was not the right relationship for you, maintain a positive attitude, and believe that some good will come your way, then the break-up becomes a blessing in disguise. You never know what will come of a situation, so rather than assuming a situation is bad, which only generates a lot of unhelpful, negative emotions, make an effort to look ahead with optimism.

5. Focus on the solution, not on the problem

When you get hit with unexpected bad news, give yourself time to understand what you need to feel. Then pick yourself up and shift your attention to finding solutions. The moment you ask yourself what you can do to make something better, you have taken the first step in turning a bad event into a more positive outcome. You will also start to feel better because you have regained control over the events.

6.  Believe in yourself.

If you are in an unexpectedly difficult situation, think back to all the other times you encountered challenges and obstacles and ask yourself, “What did I do to get through those events?” If you lack self-confidence, ask someone who knows you well to give you a boost. When you know that you have what it takes to handle the problem, you will start to feel better. 

7. Train yourself to welcome the unexpected

Once in a while, take a different route when you go jogging. Order something else from your favorite restaurant. When deciding what to watch on Netflix, pick a genre that you have never tried before. Doing these small but trivial things will help you become more accepting of change and cope more easily with surprises and unexpected events.  

There is nothing wrong with getting flustered or upset when something unexpectedly bad happens to you. But you must find a way to rise above the stress and turmoil so that you can come up with solutions to the problem. By following the above-mentioned tips, you will feel less agitated, find composure, and be able to manage difficult situations better.

Written by Jac of Mindnation

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Featured Self Help

3 Ways You Can Be More Present in Your Everyday Life

Do you spend most of days running around fulfilling one task or another?

Is your mind constantly buzzing with thoughts, plans, worries, predictions, stresses, or reactions?

Do you find yourself forgetting to eat, take a bath, drink water, or go to the bathroom?

If you answered yes to any or all of the above questions, it may be time for you to switch off your body and mind from autopilot mode and become more present and in the moment – better known as mindfulness. If you don’t, stress will overwhelm your body, leading to more physical and psychological problems in the long-run.

Here are some things you can try whenever you need to realign your focus:

1. Practice Mindful Breathing

We breathe every day, but controlled or mindful breathing is another habit we need to cultivate because studies have shown that this will help calm our minds and shift our attention towards the present moment. One of the things you can do is to practice meditative breathing in a quiet corner which will only take a few minutes of your time. Close your eyes and take slow inhales and exhales through your nose. Count your breaths and don’t fret if your mind starts to wander, that is normal; every time you catch your thoughts drifting, just redirect it back to your breath.

2. Set aside distractions

There is nothing wrong with multitasking as it allows you to accomplish more things in a given time. However, multitasking too much and too often can wreak havoc on your mental health, and this is where our smartphones and gadgets end up causing more harm than good. You may think that checking your notifications or scrolling through your newsfeeds while you are doing something else qualifies as multitasking, but in reality, you are just being distracted. If you want to complete a task faster and with more focus, cut down on the time you spend on your phone – put it in silent mode, someplace far away from you, or turn it off completely.

3. Write it down

Making a to-do list is one of the most effective steps you can take to make your day more organized and less hectic. If you want to plan for the long-term, journaling is another great way to organize your thoughts, plans, and dreams. Instead of going through the day or your life aimlessly, at least you now have targets to achieve. 

In today’s fast-paced world, we spend most of our time doing everything automatically and without putting our mind into it. It’s time to switch off this autopilot mode and start living in the moment. 

Written by Jacq of Mindnation

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Featured Self Help

7 Ways To Take Care Of Your Mental Health During The Coronavirus Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has cost millions of people their lives, jobs, and a sense of security and stability. Fear and uncertainty continue to lead to anxiety and depression for many of us. If you are one of those people whose mental well-being has taken a hit during the pandemic, below are some things you can practice to build your mental resilience, feel more optimistic, and boost your emotional wellness:

1. Focus on what you can control

Fear and negative feelings can make you replay in your mind all the ways the virus has upended your life: “No more going to the movies/concerts/malls/restaurants,” “No more gatherings with friends/family,” “Your choice, at work is either to resign or take a pay cut.” Because all these are beyond your control, thinking about them will only worsen your anxieties. So, shift your focus to parts of your life that you can manage: your daily routine, the meals you will prepare for yourself or your family, and new goals you want to achieve now that you have extra time to spare. Take this time to practice mindfulness and putting more effort into your mental well-being as well.

2. Avoid information overload

More often than not, you want to stay on top of the latest developments about the pandemic; but when you stay glued to your phone, TV, or computer, you will most likely get inundated with bad news like increasing mortality rates, overwhelmed health care workers, or other upsetting and depressing stories. To ease this toll on your mental health, studies suggest that you set boundaries by learning to limit the time you spend watching the news or reading the news on your social media feed.

3. Seek out ways to help

News might get a little negative but there are also pandemic-related news that are uplifting from people donating to the less fortunate, new businesses thriving, and other stories of generosity and compassion. Look for these human-interest bits when you scroll through your newsfeeds to minimize your anxiety and depression. Hopefully, those stories will inspire you so that you can also shine your own light and be the positivity you want to see in your community!

4. Take brain breaks and entertain yourself

Do activities that can take your mind off stress, such as rewatching your favorite sitcom on Netflix or Youtube, doing jigsaw puzzles/cross-stitch patters/paint-by-numbers, and engaging in activities that will allow you to move your body which is proven to help boost endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine, all of the feel-good chemicals in your brain. They make you feel more energized and happier. Another activity you can do to cope with the Coronavirus anxiety is video chatting with friends and family. Studies show that a lack of social connection can not only hurt our mental health, but also, ultimately, our physical health. Being isolated can also result in more anxiety and depression.

MindNation has a 24/7 Friend you can chat with for FREE via Facebook Messenger, too! It’s completely confidential and they’re trained to help you ease your anxieties. Start chatting here: http://m.me/themindnation 

5. Set Goals

When there is nothing much to do, resist the temptation to fall into a state of idleness, which will only make your life seem more lost and hopeless. Challenge yourself by taking up new hobbies or projects. It can be as simple as redecorating your room, learning how to bake, learning how to play a musical instrument, or decluttering the different spaces in your house. When you have accomplished something, you will not feel as aimless.

6. Practice kindness with others

Just because you’re not a frontliner does not mean you can’t do your part in helping ease the anxiety. Cook food and share it with those whom you think are in need; donate personal protective equipment to hospitals and other frontliners; order baked goods from your neighbor who was furloughed or laid off from his/her work; get takeout from your favorite restaurant to support small business. There are many ways we can practice kindness to others. We can also do this by checking in with our friends and loved ones and ask how they’re doing. You’ll never know who needs it!

7. End every day with gratitude


Every night before going to bed, think of all that you have accomplished, learned or were blessed with during the day. Research shows that cultivating gratitude will help alleviate any negativity you might be feeling, and reminds you that not everything that’s happening right now is bad or depressing.

Doing any of the above does not mean that you should ignore the dangers of COVID-19. But if you keep a positive outlook and help those whom you can – all while practicing minimum health standards – you can reduce your stress and better manage your anxiety during these uncertain times.

Written by Jac of Mindnation

Categories
Self Help

7 Ways To Get Out Of A Bad Mood

Anything can put us in a bad mood – a poor night’s sleep, hunger, workplace issues, relationship problems, or current events! But because it’s never a good idea to stay angry for long, below are some ways you can calm down and carry on.

1. Take a nap

Studies have shown that sleep loss can increase negative emotions such as anxiety, restlessness, and sadness. So if you are in a bad mood because you are tired from staying up all night, go take a quick nap so you can relax and revive your energy. Then at night, make sure you turn in earlier than your regular sleep time.

2. Be with nature

The past few years has seen the rise in popularity of ecotherapy — a type of therapeutic treatment which seeks to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression in people by having them spend more time in nature. The next time you are on the verge of blowing your top, step out of the room – literally. Take a walk around the block, take off your shoes and step barefoot on the grass in your garden, or do some yoga stretches outdoors. If there is no greenery outside your house, listening to nature sounds on Spotify or YouTube can also help soothe your temper.

3. Have a good laugh

A hearty laugh has been proven to be good for one’s health – it relieves physical tension and stress, decreases stress hormones, and triggers the overall release of endorphins, which are the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Anytime you’re feeling irritable, turn to Nextflix or YouTube so you can catch reruns or clips of your favorite sitcoms, stand-up comics, or funny cat videos. 

4. Take a social media break

Multiple studies have found a strong link between heavy social media use and an increased risk for depression, anxiety, loneliness, and self-harm. While you might turn to social media to distract yourself from whatever is causing your bad mood, it might end up making you more irritable and dissatisfied because you might come across posts that make you feel  (1) inadequate about your life or appearance, (2) that others are having more fun than you, or (3) lonely. So reduce the time you spend online and spend more time with friends offline. Which brings us to the next tip…

5. Call a friend

When you are close to exploding, the best thing to do is to get your issues off your chest so that you feel lighter and better. And who better to listen to your rants, complaints, or tirades than your best friends? They are perfect if you need a sounding board, a shoulder to cry on, or to give advice on how to sort out your problem.

MindNation has a 24/7 Friend you can chat with for FREE via Facebook Messenger, too! It’s completely confidential and they’re trained to help you ease your anxieties. Start chatting here: http://m.me/themindnation 🤗

6. Just press play!

The psychological effects of music can be powerful and wide-ranging. Music therapy has been proven to promote emotional health, help people cope with stress, and boost psychological well-being. Put together a playlist of your favorite feel-good songs and open it whenever you need a dose of good vibrations.

7. Have a bite

There are two ways our stomachs can make us stressed or irritable – if we’re hungry (did not eat enough) or bloated (ate too much unhealthy food). A healthy snack — something high in protein and good fats that is satisfying — can fill you up and give you the fresh energy to get through the rest of the day.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

It’s perfectly normal to lapse into a bad mood, but if you let your anger stew for too long, it can affect your mental and physical health as well as your relationship with others. The next time you’re feeling irritable or stressed, try the above tips and see if your disposition improves.

Written by Jac of MindNation

Categories
Featured Self Help

6 Ways To Cope With Politically-Induced Stress

How do you keep cool when your beliefs, ideologies, and convictions are put to the test?

Politics will always be a polarizing topic, hence the constant reminder by etiquette experts to “never discuss politics or religion in social gatherings.” But because of social media and the 24-hour news cycle, many of us find ourselves unwittingly barraged by information that, depending on our beliefs and ideologies, can be distressing. What should you do if you find government policies upsetting? How can you keep from feeling guilty or betrayed if close friends or family members have political views that are contrary to yours? How can you keep trolls from pushing your buttons? 

To help avoid these negative effects to your mental well-being, here are some recommended ways to deal with politically-induced stress:

  1. Limit the time you spend engaging with political content

How many times a day do you check the news or the social media pages of your favorite politicians? If you are constantly looking at your phone to stay up to date, you are also increasing the likelihood of feeling anxious, angry, or sad over what you see or read. As a solution, try going online only a few times a day, preferably not in the morning so that you do not start your day with upsetting news. Also try to follow only fact-based, reputable, or primary sources so that the information is provided accurately and not biased in favor of a particular set of beliefs.

  1. Do not feed the trolls

A “troll” is internet slang for someone who deliberately posts inflammatory comments and argumentative messages online in an attempt to provoke, disrupt, and upset others. “Feeding” means responding to said comments, which is counterproductive because you are only giving them the attention that they crave. So instead of giving them the satisfaction of an angry reaction, remind yourself that they are just deliberately baiting you, and that the best way to shut them down is to ignore them.

  1. Be mindful of your surroundings when sharing political opinions 

How do you talk about politics with your friends, family, or coworkers? While sharing thoughts on a certain political topic can hep broaden minds, it can also cause tension or bring up uncomfortable feelings if people do not think or feel the same way as you. So never make assumptions about other people’s beliefs, even if they are close friends or family members. Again – do not bring up politics during social gatherings.

  1. Be open to learning about other points of view

Now what if SOMEONE ELSE brings up politics? Instead of feeling dread, try to reframe the discussion as an educational opportunity to find out why others think differently from you. Their opinions might have been shaped a certain way because they were raised in an environment or encountered life circumstances different from yours. Choose to keep quiet and just listen; but if you want to engage, be sure to keep your questions balanced and respectful. Remember that the personalities and issues being talked about will change by the next elections, but your friends and (especially) family members are here to stay, so you need to maintain harmonious ties with them.

  1. Know you can always step away

If the conversation is really making you uncomfortable, you can either try to change the subject or step away from the table to preoccupy your mental space with something else. Go to the bathroom, or pretend you need to make an emergency phone call; either way, come back when you are feeling more collected. 

  1. Get involved

Mahatma Gandhi said it best – “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Being helpless over what is going on around you can be stressful and depressing, so try taking an action on an issue that you care about to exert some control over a situation. Volunteer with a community group, make donations, participate in activism, or write a letter to your city’s local officials – all these won’t necessarily solve the problem, but they can help you feel a sense of accomplishment and purpose. Just remember to stay safe at all times, and always assess how the added responsibilities are affecting your mental health.

It is possible to find calm amidst the political storm. Just limit the time you spend reading the news, know when to engage and when to back off from discussions, and find ways to do your part in making the community better.