By Cleveland Clinic
It can be really hard to escape political news – whether it’s our social media feeds, office banter, or a family conversation over the dinner table.
And research has shown that both adults and youth are getting political news burnout.
According to Joseph Rock, PsyD, of Cleveland Clinic, the first step to avoiding the stress of politics is to try to keep from getting roped into politically charged conversations.
“Maybe you don’t need to be around people who engage in political talk all of the time, or, you have to say what you want to say and then move on to another group or do something else to get yourself out of the situation, because it is very tempting,” he said.
Dr. Rock said too much politics can get in between people – even people who agree on political views – because one person will get typically more wrapped up in it than the other.
He said no matter what a person’s political persuasion is, there is bound to be something in the news that can irritate them every single day.
Dr. Rock said it’s helpful, instead, to divert ourselves away from those topics instead of trying to persuade everyone to our side.
People can become addicted to political news – often when they can’t pull themselves away for fear that they might miss something.
And while many may justify their news obsession by saying that they need to know what’s going on, Dr. Rock said it’s helpful to admit to ourselves that most times we don’t need to know every single thing that’s happening.
“It’s really a matter of taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture and realizing – this isn’t healthy for me, and what can I do to move it in another direction?” he said.
Dr. Rock advises people to take responsibility for themselves – so when we’re telling others to back off the politics– we should make sure that we are backing off as well.
“Make sure that you are managing how much you’re looking at social media; how much you’re reading, especially political posts in different places, and to make sure it’s not taking up a disproportionate part of your life, and once you’ve done that, you’re not going to be as vulnerable to other people coming in and trying to push those buttons,” he said.
Dr. Rock said one helpful strategy to calm the atmosphere, and our brains, is to designate places – like the dinner table – as a politics-free zone.
“You can divert things in another way and say, ‘you know, I agree with much of what you’re saying, but I really don’t want to talk about that today; I want it to be about something else; I want us to enjoy each other;’ because politics aren’t the only thing that’s important,” he said.