Available for interviews: Dr. Colleen Cira
Dr. Colleen Cira is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist who specializes in Women and Trauma, and has worked with hundreds of people struggling with mental health issues.
There is a lot going on in terms of Psychophysiology when trauma is being felt—or in other words, our brains affect our body and visa versa. This information is imperative when it comes to learning how to calm our bodies and re-regulate our nervous system.
Talking Points from Dr. Cira On Political Anxiety:
Sometimes politics can impact our mental health, especially when the times are highly polarizing or when the stakes seem particularly crucial and the climate chaotic. This can lead us to feel exhausted, confused, and angry.
However, if we don’t recognize that’s how we’re feeling, work through those feelings and then put those feelings into productive action, what happens next is easy to predict. The biological sequence of our nervous systems is that once we become distressed and stay there for, oh say . . . an hour and a half, we will fall into fatigue. And nervous system fatigue looks like apathy and a sense of doom/hopeless/helplessness. Sound familiar?
Apathy, doom, and helplessness are all things we need to PREVENT, all of the time, but especially during stressful times or when we feel less in control. Even though we may not be happy about the political leaders in our country, there are still a few biologically-based tips we can do to calm ourselves down when necessary:
1) Feel your feelings. If you’re angry, vent to someone who is aligned with your beliefs. If you’re sad, let yourself cry. If you feel hopeless, journal about it. In order to get PAST our feelings, we need to move THROUGH them.
2) Focus on your breath. Practice the square method of breathing: inhale slowly through your nose for 5 seconds, hold it for 5 seconds, exhale slowly for 5 seconds and then hold it again for 5 seconds. Repeat this at least 5 times, if not more.
3) Do something to take care of yourself. Take a hot shower/bath, schedule an outdoor or Zoom call get-together with a good friend, make yourself a steaming mug of your favorite tea, etc. Do something for you and that feels good.
4) Control what you can control. We can’t control others, but we can control ourselves. So use all of that intense energy and put it to good use! Create a voting plan, sign-up to a text bank with your friends, encourage your family to vote, ask your neighbors how you can help get them to the polls. By using your feelings to inspire ACTION, not only do you help drive change, but you also wind up feeling better because action combats feelings of helplessness.
Interviews Dr. Colleen Cira
Dr. Colleen D. Cira, Psy.D. received both her Masters and Doctorate from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology and has been practicing in the field since 2001. Dr. Cira is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and the Founder and Executive Director of Cira Center for Behavioral Health, PC a boutique group practice with locations in Chicago and Oak Park that specializes in Women’s Issues/Health and Trauma. Dr. Cira is a trauma and anxiety expert, clinical supervisor, writer, speaker, consultant, activist, wife, and Mommy to two little ones.
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