Some coping tips from the Queens Museum’s ArtAccess therapists


The following tips were developed for the Open House for Unity.

Over the course of the past months, many of us have been troubled by the lack of civility in the political discourse. As caring individuals and communities, we have a special role in bringing unity to divided worlds. The election is now over and we are called in a special way to help bring support and healing those around us. Each of us can be a model of integrity, respect, and inclusivity.

We feel powerless when we are rendered helpless by forces outside of our control. Traumatic events overwhelm the ordinary systems of care that give people a sense of control, connection, and meaning. Anger, dissociation, and depression are natural responses to the loss of a sense of control in our life’s events. To regain control, we need to find and use expressive outlets that can help with self-actualization.

Engaging in Constructive Conversations
By having conversations with friends, family, neighbors, and strangers we can promote understanding and appreciation of the incredible richness that comes from diversity. A culture of peace among diverse communities is grounded in the culture of dialogue and exchange.

Making meaning and self-actualization
Finding creative ways to react and digest troubling events can provide us with a safe territory where we actualize our thoughts and ideas, and feel re-connected and empowered through this self-actualization. Finding and using expressive outlets such as artmaking, creative writing, journaling, and poetry allow us to identify, recognize and process our feelings, and reach out to others in non-threatening ways.

In therapy, mindfulness means paying attention in a certain way, by being in the here and now. It allows us to be less reactive and it includes focusing on describing and observing our thoughts, participating fully, being non-judgmental, and focusing on one thing at a time. In essence, mindfulness helps us distance ourselves from unhelpful thoughts, self-talk, reactions, and sensations. Being aware of negative self-talk is a first step for changing it for the positive. No matter what our personal struggle is, this can have a significant impact in helping to guide us through the challenges of life.

Building Support Systems
Being with people who are connected to and care about us is essential for our well-being. Everyone needs and wants to be seen, heard, and understood. It is best to build a support system at your own pace, in a way that feels right and safe for you. Building and using support systems such as friends, family and other community members is a positive first step.

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