Mental Health in Times of Unrest

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To a common man, politics may seem distant unless it hits close to home and has an impact on various aspects of life. Basic sense of stability, security and certainty that we live with in our day-to-day lives begins to crumble when political unrest becomes a reality. Politics becomes personal, when people begin to experience the real consequences of governmental decision making. It surely becomes challenging, regardless of your beliefs or where you might fall on the political spectrum. Political fallout indeed can be unnerving. Prevailing uncertainty can take its toll on the lives of individuals on a mental level as ‘uncertainty is one of the most difficult emotional states to manage’.

The controversial Citizenship Amendment Act, ongoing protests against it, debates, attacks on students, have all led to a similar turmoil of emotions across the country. To say the least, political climate of the country has turned very intense since December of 2019. You just can’t turn away without being faced with contentious and divisive opinions whether you go online or switch on the TV.

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Anxiety. Stress. It’s in the air now. Fortunately there are some steps to look after your mental health during these times of political uncertainty:

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1. Prioritize first : If the situation calls for you to be politically opinionated, conserve your energy by prioritizing grounds that you are actually concerned about, according to your values. Even a single voice about an issue means a lot but to have an impact in long run cut back the topics that you don’t resonate with. Stay informed but set limits too.

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2. Stick to your values : Wits often go for wool gathering during such a chaos. There lies a tendency to get swayed along with others. Let your values hinder this jump on the bandwagon. Stay back, think twice and most importantly be true to yourself, especially during the times of socio-political stress.

3. Try finding commonalities : It is inevitable to meet people with different political views. If political differences arise, avoid getting into heated arguments rather try to find commonalities in these differences. Be open to hear other’s part and validate their feelings if needed. This mechanism makes you more tolerant and understand various aspects to work towards a common goal that is peace.

4. Know your overload signs : Loosing sleep? Digestive problems? Change in eating habits? Recognize the stress signs that your body and mind gives you. Shift your focus from political dwellings. Treat yourself.

5.Take a break from multimedia news for a few days : Allow yourself to look away from media and other sources of information which often acts as a source for this stress. Reconnect with selective programs only.

6. Seek Solace : Engage in soothing activities, such as meditation, progressive relaxation or mindfulness, which may help you connect to the present moment and find some much needed peace.

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Lariba Ashfaq Ahmed
Lariba, a literature student at Kamala Nehru College, is a bibliophile and an outgoing personality. She always strives to back every instance with reason but is a dreamer as well. Quite a rare combo.Her Best - friends are Coffee and Amitav Ghosh books. Dive deeper into Lariba's perspective of things. Check out her work.

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