Brexit – what effect is it having on you?
As an observer of human beings, have you noticed the stress and division caused by Brexit?. (I sound like an Alien. I am starting to wonder if i am one, stranded on a mad planet, ravaged by a new disease.)
Anyway, I have recently witnessed a real increase in anxiety in a number of friends. Brexit related stress has become a thing.
Are you infected?
The main symptoms are – the good people who I know seem seriously unhappy and on edge. Some are more irritable, uneasy or just suffering from constant background anxiety. I am included in this epidemic. Stress and feeling in a state of unrest is stage one of the disease, incase you think you have it too.
Stage 2 of the infection is become a severely addicted news junkie. Agghhh! You will start craving hourly updates especially on voting days. It becomes an addiction (apparently) when the behaviour becomes really damaging. I’ve lost sleep. I constantly check news sites. I rush to the news channel when I get home. None of this seems healthy. And we’re probably just getting started on the whole process.
What’s the real issue?
Most stressey problems like Brexit relates stress or News stress have symptoms and also a separate underlying cause. The cause, this case, is tuning into constantly repeated messages of uncertainty on those lovely news channels. 24/7 – piped straight into your busy brain by a range of helpful digital and terrestrial channels.
What’s the result of 24 hour continual news stress? You can answer that one yourself.
Stress and compulsive behaviour like overactive news checking, is an understandable reaction to uncertainty. One of our primary human needs is to know what’s going on. Certainty and stability is something we all crave. Perhaps as a survival extinct from earlier times. Perhaps just natural curiosity from our busy brains that always ask questions. We just want to know what’s next!
What can we do to reduce Brexit news stress?
First of all, let’s try to improve the behaviour that is topping up our anxiety and fuelling unhappy moods. Brexit will probably continue to consume our media for years. The talks and arrangements for separating law, politics, trade, travel and migration will take time. This is just the start of the very complex process. It’s not going to leave the news, so a new approach to our lovely news media is needed.
If we think of media consumption as food, it’s time to take control. The ‘start, stop continue’ model is a good way to look at this.
A diet (complete abstinence) tends to lead to a rebound, so don’t go there. Make some smarter changes.
What can you start doing?
For me, it’s the following (you may have a different list – bu this should help):
- Audit the media you consume. Look at what your having for breakfast, lunch and after-dinner news and review. Just write it down.
- Change the menu. News is not the only food. Podcasts, pre-recorded subscriptions and different radio channels and platforms are available. There’s more on the menu that scheduled business news. Make new selections, discover new snacks, get creative with breakfast. (Brexit-fast? – some abstinence could work too.)
- Have some limits on your exposure time. If you get the urge to consume some political news, limit it to 15 mins and then switch it off. It tends to repeat itself pretty quickly – you only need to hear it once, not memorise it.
What can you stop doing?
- Avoid late night binges. During the hour before you go to bed, your mind is quite sensitive as your conscious mind tires. Stop flooding it with negative programmes and look for happier activities. Music. Books. Yoga. Drawing. Go offline if you can.
- Stop those automated reminders. Anything that provides a channel to digital news can be uninstalled, moved or the reminders switched off.
- Stop talking about it. Bad news is winning when we give it more air time by repeating it and amplifying its reach. Opt of being part of the PR machine. Broadcast something different on ‘radio you’. I recently met up with a coaching colleague of mine – we didn’t mention the ‘B’ word and had a lovely meal instead.
What should you continue doing?
- Being interested in the country’s future. It’s a good thing to know about politics and what’s going on in parliament and at a constitutional level. It just needs to become a smaller part of my day. Less frequent. Perhaps more informed sources rather than instant news would help.
- Being aware of media usage. Topics, online channels and programmes can start to take over your day. These activities need to be balanced with physical activity, offline creative work and conversations about other topics. Maintain control of media consumption sounds grand, but it is just that.
- Researching new channels. How did you find the media channels you use and currently enjoy? New ones are added all the time, find new podcasts, look for new digital services. Unsubscribe to make room for new ones too.
What do you think?
If you have your own suggestions on ‘what else’ we could do to reduce news-based stress, happy to receive your comments below. Or do get in touch if you need additional support.
Thanks for consuming this channel – promise we won’t mention that topic again!