Tips for coping with the stresses of modern life

From economic uncertainty, to random acts of violence, to divisive politics — modern society has its pitfalls. And if the headlines have you down, you’re not alone. According to a recent Gallup study, three-quarters of the population is dissatisfied with the way things are going in the United States at this time.

But some experts believe that by simply putting things into perspective, we can avoid feeling overwhelmed by the realities of today.

“What’s going on now isn’t anything new,” says Michael R. Drew, co-author of “Pendulum: How Past Generations Shape Our Present and Predict Our Future.” “It’s history repeated, through the cycles of social shifts.”

In “Pendulum,” Drew, along with co-author Roy H. Williams, draw upon historical events to show how western society goes through predictable 40-year shifts, swinging from an idealist “me” system of values, to a civic or “we” way of thinking. As we approach 2013, they say, we will embark on the upswing of a “we” era, characterized by divisiveness and destructive historical events.

However, there are ways to help ease stress about some of today’s issues and problems and those we are likely to encounter in the near future:

• Don’t be jaded by current political name-calling and divisiveness. It’s an American tradition. Even our beloved Founding Fathers were not above getting down in the mud. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams conducted a particularly nasty campaign against one another that would be considered even more beyond the pale than what we read in blogs, hear on radio and see in advertising.

• You don’t need to immerse yourself in the 24-hour news cycle to be an informed citizen. Reading the newspaper, watching TV news, listening to the radio and checking out online news sites and social media services are an important part of staying connected to the world, but should be done in moderation.

By taking a bit of time away from incendiary cable news shows and logging off social media periodically, you can give yourself time to think and reflect, focusing your energy on positive things. For media-junkies who can’t fathom disconnecting even temporarily, consider adding some alternative news sources to your mix, such as, which supplies a dose of something different than anxiety-inducing content.

• Politics, manners, humor, sexuality, wealth — even our definitions of success — are periodically renegotiated based on whatever new values society judges acceptable. If you feel out of your element, simply give it some time and society will swing back toward your way of thinking eventually.

• We’re living in an age when more and more of us will be defined by what we are not, rather than what we are — and what we stand against rather than what unites us. Fight against the divisiveness this creates by striving to be inclusive rather than exclusive.

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Rather than feeling oppressed by current events, you can gain a new perspective by riding the waves of our ever evolving society.

Courtesy of State Point Media