How to Recover from Brexit Anxiety
This week I overheard a couple in a café discussing the referendum result. Whilst one was shaking her head and predicting disaster, the other was almost pleading that voting leave didn’t make him a xenophobe as he read comments from a social media site. They both appeared to be in a state of shock; neither sounded triumphant. How strong yet understandable the emotions following the referendum are.
Change isn’t always easy. Whether it’s change for the better or for the worse it’s still different and difference brings uncertainty. One of the things which can fuel anxiety is uncertainty, a feeling of a lack of control over something important like our environment or our future. Also if someone is predisposed to be anxious then they’ll often catastrophise any uncertainty they face whilst filtering out any benefits or positives.
How to handle this? First of all, try to recognise what you can control, what you can perhaps at best influence and what you can let go of. How much control over the future did anyone have prior to the referendum? What can be done to mitigate any future worries? For example, if fear over interest rates is what’s on your mind, could seeking financial or mortgage advice help? Sometimes we might not get all the answers we want but by just taking action and exploring options we can gain a sense of control over our situation.
Also, in the days of social media where our profiles and opinions seem to be held up to constant scrutiny and challenged, there is a tendency to sometimes label others who don’t agree with us, especially when emotions are running high and apocalypses are being predicted. So if you’re feeling attacked or criticised perhaps it's time to stay away from social media for a while? Does getting into arguments online really help? Does anyone remember whatever last year’s big argument was about? Does it still feel as intense? The social media forums and platforms will still be there when you’re feeling a bit better and tensions aren’t as high.
Lastly if you’re experiencing shock then accept it for what it is and whether it’s with friends, family or a therapist, talking about it without blaming others can help you work through the sometimes difficult emotions that shock brings, until you reach acceptance and are more aware of your options.
And remember kindness towards others goes a long way. It can feel good to turn that kindness inwards too.