Staying Sane in the Age of Trump

Image: The word “stress” written in red pencil.  (pedrofigueras/pixabay)

A publication called Student Loan Hero reported in January that 60% of Americans are feeling stressed over the Trump Administration. Their survey was limited to questions about people’s financial fears. Add to that all the people worried about the future of democracy, those fearful of nuclear war with North Korea, and all those worrying about the wild stories circulating in the news, and it’s a stressful, stressful time.

How can we possibly manage all this stress?

I am a firm believer in the wisdom of the Serenity Prayer:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.  – Reinhold Niebuhr

There are many things that I cannot control right now. One way to lower my stress is to take each thing that worries me and ask: “Can I do anything about this?” If the answer is “no” then I will be happier if I set it aside for a while. (I find, when I’m in a worrying mood, that telling myself I’m setting things aside “for now” is one way to assure myself that if the situation changes, I can get back to worrying about it.)

So, the next thing: are there mitzvot I can do?

This is only a partial list – there are lots and lots of mitzvot that can fill my life with holiness and meaning, and make the world a better place in the process.

We learn from our blessings that God “sanctifies us with mitzvot” – that is, that doing mitzvot properly will make us better people. I like to think that each mitzvah I do helps build me up for the day when I am called on for a larger, more difficult mitzvah. Each mitzvah is a little soul-workout that makes me stronger.

When the moment comes that I will need “the courage to change the things I can,” I want to be ready. So in the meantime, I will do mitzvot!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Published by

rabbiadar

Rabbi Ruth Adar is a teaching rabbi based in San Leandro, CA. She has many hats: rabbi, mom, poodle groomer, and ham radio operator K6RAV. She blogs at https://coffeeshoprabbi.com/ as the Coffee Shop Rabbi.

7 thoughts on “Staying Sane in the Age of Trump”

  1. With all that’s going on in the world right now and what’s happening at the border, seeing the hate coming from people who don’t care, hearing phrases like “America First!” frightens me. This article helped me a lot today. Thank you.

    Like

    1. I am glad it helped, Nikki. These are very upsetting times. We have to take care of ourselves and one another if we are going to persevere in the face of hate and apathy.

      Like

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