How To Cope With Anxiety Over Malaysian Politics

The past couple of days have been a roller-coaster ride for many Malaysians and it’s not even over yet! There were secret meetings in hotels, urgent visits to the palace, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad’s resignation, and enough rumours of party hopping and backbiting to keep Hollywood scriptwriters happy! So here’s an update on a story we ran two years ago during GE14 high season about coping with all of it, when all of us needed a large order of chill pills!

“Getting through the day stress-free isn’t realistic,” says David Shen-Miller, Ph.D., chair and associate professor of the department of counseling and health psychology at Bastyr University. So, you should expect some stress. But if you’re intentional throughout the day, you’ll be able to better manage your anxiety, he says. Here’s your morning-to-night guide.

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When it’s keeping you up

Hit snooze. Okay, so there may not be a tonne you can do about this one if you only clocked six hours and it’s time to get your day started, but if you can get a little extra shut-eye, it may be worth it. That’s because those who sleep at least eight hours a night report lower stress levels than those who get less shut-eye and tend to be less irritable, says Shen-Miller. Getting a good night’s sleep can also help you regulate your emotions, he explains, which seems pretty useful for the emotionally charged next few days.

Avoid checking social media. If you’re reading this story you probably already failed at this (whoops!), but you can still make an effort to limit your media exposure throughout the rest of the day to keep your stress in check. (In general, people who are more dialed-in to social media have more distress in their lives, says Shen-Miller. Plus, one study even found that news-induced stress can have a major impact on your mental and physical health.) If you really want to look at the news go ahead, but just expect to see something you may not agree with, he says (and while you’re at it, maybe just steer clear of the Facebook comments section for everyone’s mental health).

Call a parent or friend. If you’re freaking out, chances are your best friend or sister is too. Getting on the phone with a loved one to talk it out can help you relieve anxiety after waking up, Shen-Miller says. If that sounds like a terrible idea that will leave you more stressed out than when you started…

Related article: Malaysia’s PM Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad Resigns

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