I am sure I am not the only one to have noticed that good old Blighty seems to be a massive shambles of late. Just when we thought we were emerging from the pandemic, so did our blessed country decide to practically fall apart at the seams – otherwise known as broken Britain.
Try to get a new passport- sorry you’ll have to wait! Try to get on a flight – it will be cancelled. Try to get a train somewhere – there will be industrial action. Try to get a medical referral – get in line, that will be 2024 thank you! And no you can’t buy that thing on your shopping list as it is currently out of stock until god only knows what date or is now three times more expensive. If you want to get something done, then backlog Britain – or broken Britain as I like to call it – will definitely not have the answer for you, and instead will just deliver one big collective exasperated eyeroll or heaving sigh as we deal with the farcical frustration of it all.
Yes not only are we also having to deal with the massive cost of living crisis and things becoming ridiculously expensive, but we are wondering what the point of leaving the house at all is because a) It will cost us a fortune and b) The outside world is apparently broken anyway thanks to broken Britain.
So when we are met with despair and dysfunction practically everywhere we turn, how can we effectively take it on the chin and not let the shambolic state of our country get to us?
We tapped Marisa Peer, world-renowned therapist and best-selling author who shared her insights and tips with us here.
Ukraine, Covid, global warming as well as polarizing politics have dominated our lives for the past decade as well as Brexit, Partygate and NHS backlogs. Dealing with one major upheaval is challenging enough to our mental wellbeing but this relentless series of catastrophes, seamlessly blending into each other has been described as a permacrisis. Levels of anxiety are soaring not only in the UK but globally and there is no immediate end in sight.
Most of us in the Western world have been fortunate enough to grow up with a feeling of certainty and that sense of security is a real human need. Certainty that we are safe, that life on the whole is good and has its rewards. Global events would register on our radar from time to time, but life had a comforting routine to it which we could rely on like a young child relies on a parent. But now that parent is out of control creating a feeling of abandonment and isolation. This unpredictability makes us humans feel anxious, worried and depressed. The future no longer seems a given. That is truly unsettling and many adults are suffering from crisis fatigue.
Many of our RTT therapists have noticed an increase in people asking for help for anxiety. Last year we held a global anxiety symposium and have also developed protocols for our therapists to help them specifically deal with this burgeoning issue.
When the world seems uncertain you have to focus on your own certainty. The certainty that you are the same person, the same parent, friend, spouse, employee and employer. When you can focus on what is the same in your life rather than what is different, you will have better coping skills.
It’s a rule of your mind that whatever you focus on, you get more of so focus on what is still good and remind yourself that life will eventually return to normal even if it means we have to adapt to change. This is vital if you have small children. We are wired to fear change in case it’s a change for the worse and not the better.
To help people deal with the permacrisis, Marisa has put together a free meditation session which people can download here to help with relaxation, sleep and to put things into a more manageable perspective.
Tips to keep anxiety to a minimum
Perspective and gratitude
Looking at the terrible events in the Ukraine puts minor problems into perspective. Living with gratitude is a powerful way to be. Take time to stop and reflect on all you have to be grateful for each day, or start a gratitude journal.
Focus on the good
It’s a rule of your mind that whatever you focus on, you get more of; so focus on what is good in your life. Remind yourself that after past catastrophes and disasters, life does return to normal.
Side-step the negative
Avoid doom-scrolling and don’t keep the news on in the background, as even when you’re not actively listening you are absorbing these messages.
Focus on certainty
Instead of fearing uncertainty, focus on your own certainty that despite what’s happening there are constants in your life. This will strengthen your coping skills.
When overwhelmed, just stop and take a minute to breathe. Close your eyes and focus on your breath. This is a great way to bring yourself back into the moment and break the fear cycle.
Connect to yourself
Be mindful of what you are experiencing – acknowledge what you are thinking and feeling and where in your body you are experiencing a physical reaction. By observing what’s happening, rather than repressing it, you will find you work through things much quicker.
Live in the now
Anxiety is usually a response to a fear of things that may happen, but most likely never will. Instead of focusing on the what ifs, take each moment as it comes and deal with the reality of what emerges.
Self-care is so important and boosts resilience. Take time out for yourself each day to stop, relax and reflect. Do something you love, or anything that helps shift your energy and mood. Take a walk, play music, dance – it doesn’t need to be complicated!
Ask for help
If you are struggling, ask for help – whether this be from friends and family, through a support group or from a therapist. Feeling connected and sharing your fears and worries helps you avoid feeling alone in what you are experiencing.
Feeling helpless can lead to anxiety, so do anything you can to help by donating or offering services. Get involved in your community so you have a focus and sense of purpose – be part of the solution, rather than the problem
Have you been feeling frustrated by broken Britain recently? Or perhaps you are living elsewhere in the world and can share a different perspective? Leave a comment below and let us know.
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