The last few years have been challenging for everyone. As more time passes, the continued uncertainty of the future, combined with the disillusionment surrounding the political environment, is affecting the mental health of many.
A Harris Poll survey reported the majority of adults are unsettled by government and political actions, apprehensive about inflation levels, and distressed by boundless violence.
The poll also found respondents hold a pessimistic view of the future. Over 60% disagreed with these statements:
“I feel our country is on the path to being stronger than ever.”
“Our children are going to inherit a better world than we did.”
More than 75% of respondents said the future of our nation is a significant source of stress in their lives. And almost 70% said the current political climate is a significant source of stress in their lives. The stress caused by this uncertainty, disillusionment and fear plays a toll on mental health.
This stress and pessimistic view of the future leads many Americans to consider moving to another country. Over 50% of Americans aged 18-44 said the state of this country has made them consider moving to another country. And 59% of LGBTQIA+ said the same.
Stress and Health Consequences
Over 75% of people polled said that stress had impacted their health. They reported headaches, fatigue, nervousness, anxiety, sadness and depression. Those with higher stress levels were more likely than those with a lower average stress level to report experiencing these symptoms. What’s more, over 70% also reported other impacts on their mental health, including feeling overwhelmed, changes in sleep and constant worrying. These changes in mental health have caused 15% of these people to turn to alcohol and drugs.
How to Improve Your Mental Health During Times of Uncertainty
Some people are better at dealing with uncertainties than others. It might take time for the situation to be resolved or improved. If you find yourself feeling stressed, you can take steps to build resilience. Accepting that there will be uncertainty in our lives is the first step. Being in this frame helps us focus on what we can control.
Here are a few ways you can improve your mental health in times of uncertainty:
Disrupt negative thinking and ruminating.
Stop and take a breath when you find yourself spiraling into negative thoughts. Instead, try to imagine the best possible scenarios and figure out what you can do to experience that outcome.
Do something new.
You can train yourself to be more comfortable with uncertainty. Stepping outside of our routine and trying new things can help us become more comfortable with the unknown.
Take control where you can.
Taking action over aspects of life that are within our control can be empowering and help reduce stress over things that are out of our control.
Surround yourself with supportive people.
Seek out emotionally supportive friends and family who will be there for you when you need them.
Talk with a mental health professional.
Sometimes, despite our best efforts, we need help working through our problems. A mental health therapist can listen to your concerns and work with you on a plan to address your situation and help you move forward.
It’s clear that more people than ever are dealing with mental health issues. Mental healthcare professionals can offer a non-judgemental and safe place to confront their fears and concerns and get the help they need.