Do you feel that thinking about political issues affects your personal life? - Social Anxiety Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-12-2018, 07:58 PM Thread Starter
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Do you feel that thinking about political issues affects your personal life?


Sorry for the long title, and I know a lot of people hate these generic question topics, so I'll try to explain myself.

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I've been thinking about this for a while, and it's really bothering me because I don't have an answer. I have a feeling that I think about certain political issues, follow certain debates, and feel emotionally upset by certain political events more than I think I "should".

And by "should" I simply mean it takes a lot of (emotional) energy and I don't fully understand why I'm doing it.

I sometimes feel that understanding politics would give me some deep insight into human beings, and how people think and behave as groups (especially large groups), but I'm not even sure if that's true or if I'm just BSing myself.

I'm not sure if getting fixated on certain issues is just my brain trying to use some way of thinking about personal things that bother me without engaging directly with the ideas? I'm not even sure if it's just affecting how I feel or if it's influencing my decisions too.

I might try cutting myself off from reading anything political or following the news for a week or so and see where that gets me.

---

But I thought I might ask first if anyone actually experiences anything like that? As in you feel your personal life is being affected somehow by political stuff. That it's influencing how you feel and think? (esp. negatively)

Ma 'alena
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-12-2018, 08:02 PM
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I would say so

But what has helped me at least, is trying to channel it positively into a discussion.
I was happy to notice that there are a few people here(my school) who like to speak politics, so it's also a good way to get stuff out while connecting

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-12-2018, 08:06 PM
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Politics affect your life whether you want it to or not, so it should significantly affect your emotions when you think about it.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-12-2018, 08:15 PM
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I don't follow or read about anything political because I can't do anything to alter any of it. It's just a pointless waste of my time.

Enough about me, lets talk about you, what do you think about me?
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-13-2018, 01:51 AM
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I was actively engaged with political science and economics for a couple years when I was younger, but I avoid the news now. I have too many of my own problems to have any energy left over to deal with political issues.

People can certainly get caught up in political movements. They have a lot in common with religion. There's a lot of proselytization and peer pressure, browbeating and ostracism. So yes, it can have a huge impact on your personal life. People get pressured into joining movements they're not sure about because "it's the right thing to do" and all their friends are doing it. They get worked up about issues that have no impact on them personally yet lack the ability to keep their own lives in order and be good to the people they interact with on a daily basis. That's always seemed a little irrational to me but people are going to do what they're going to do. Sometimes it's just easier to paint yourself as a martyr than to take responsibility for your life.

Personally, I can do more good by being good to the people I know than I can by yelling at people I don't. A person like me, who suffers from mental illness, is much better off learning psychology, since it has immediate, practical applications. If I'd kept my focus on politics I'd probably be dead by now, so psychology has gotten me a couple of decades, anyway. Politics only really works for people in majorities and substantial minorities in any case so the issues that have the biggest impact on me personally are also the issues I'm least likely to be able to change politically. That just sounds like a recipe for frustration.

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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-13-2018, 06:47 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raies View Post
I would say so

But what has helped me at least, is trying to channel it positively into a discussion.
I was happy to notice that there are a few people here(my school) who like to speak politics, so it's also a good way to get stuff out while connecting
Yeah, it's relatively easy for me to discuss to politics with most irl acquaintances, because it's sort predictable and I don't feel it's very anxiety provoking most of the time. I generally just prod other people and let them talk, and maybe play a bit of a devil's advocate just to see how they think.

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Politics affect your life whether you want it to or not, so it should significantly affect your emotions when you think about it.
Yeah, but you can be affected by political issues that might require decades and decades to change, if they ever change at all. I feel that worrying about "really big things" can be very stressful, and I'm not sure how it can be beneficial. Even if I manage to figure out the solutions to all the world's problem, and have all the "correct" political opinions, I'm still just one person. I (personally) can never have any significant effect on what actually happens in the world, so why should "the big picture" even occupy my mind?

Ma 'alena
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-13-2018, 07:55 AM Thread Starter
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I don't follow or read about anything political because I can't do anything to alter any of it. It's just a pointless waste of my time.
Yeah, but don't you think that you can tell something about a person from their political opinions? I feel like it's an indicator of people's grasp on reality, their empathy, and some other things. You can sort of tell what ideas that are influencing them.

The problem with using this to judge others, for me, is that I then get obsessed with judging myself, why do I find certain opinions more attractive than others? Why am I concerned with this issue more than that one? Why do I feel more empathy for X rather than Y? Why do I feel that this particular way of understanding past events is more credible?

Yes, I can't alter anything, but I sometimes feel I can get addicted to these kinds of questions. And my answers never satisfy me. So, maybe you're right, and I should just avoid it. I definitely do that sometimes for months at a time. (my obsessions generally tend to be periodic in a weird way, where I binge, abstain, binge, abstain, ... )

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I was actively engaged with political science and economics for a couple years when I was younger, but I avoid the news now. I have too many of my own problems to have any energy left over to deal with political issues.

People can certainly get caught up in political movements. They have a lot in common with religion. There's a lot of proselytization and peer pressure, browbeating and ostracism. So yes, it can have a huge impact on your personal life. People get pressured into joining movements they're not sure about because "it's the right thing to do" and all their friends are doing it.
That's definitely been my experience. At least when there are big events happening or whatever. This kind of annoys me because it makes me feel gullible.

And I've noticed something in the 8 years that bothers me. I'm very conscious of how (local) political events affect general trends and attitudes in society from one extreme to the other in short periods of time. I'm also aware of how those general attitudes in turn affect me personally.

What bothers me is that I can tell the current atmosphere is toxic, becoming more toxic each year, and very discouraging of positive attitudes in general. I can sense a lot of, I don't know, moral nihilism? cultural nihilism? I don't know. SOME kind of nihilism in everyone around me, to some extent. Or maybe just ultra-pragmatism and self-centeredness. Even the ones whose personal lives seem great, seem cruel or morally scarred somehow. And I feel confident tracing that societal shift to specific political events.

What's frustrating to me is that a lot of this negativity spills over to my personal life, which seems really stupid, because my personal issues don't really fit into any of that.

Quote:
They get worked up about issues that have no impact on them personally yet lack the ability to keep their own lives in order and be good to the people they interact with on a daily basis. That's always seemed a little irrational to me but people are going to do what they're going to do. Sometimes it's just easier to paint yourself as a martyr than to take responsibility for your life.

Personally, I can do more good by being good to the people I know than I can by yelling at people I don't. A person like me, who suffers from mental illness, is much better off learning psychology, since it has immediate, practical applications. If I'd kept my focus on politics I'd probably be dead by now, so psychology has gotten me a couple of decades, anyway. Politics only really works for people in majorities and substantial minorities in any case so the issues that have the biggest impact on me personally are also the issues I'm least likely to be able to change politically. That just sounds like a recipe for frustration.
That's a really good point. I feel like "redefining" my personal issues so as to fit into some group or other's cause has never led to anything good. I feel that people who fit neatly into substantial minorities like you said experience the social world very differently. They can form strong stable communities able to form some kind of political force. So, maybe to them it doesn't feel like it's completely futile to have these kinds of worries.

And yeah, I do find psychology a lot more useful. I never really regretted reading a book or "wasting" time thinking about psychological things, even when I end up changing my opinions or giving up on certain ideas or theories.

Ma 'alena
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-13-2018, 12:43 PM
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Yeah, but don't you think that you can tell something about a person from their political opinions? I feel like it's an indicator of people's grasp on reality, their empathy, and some other things. You can sort of tell what ideas that are influencing them.
Sure, if they are right wing, they are arseholes and we wont get along. Right wing is basically a short cut to low openness + high conscientiousness and I haven't ever met anyone like that I got on particularly well with.

Nothing changes re politics. Every 4 years I vote for the left wing party if I can be bothered to walk across the road, then I just clear my mind of it and get on worrying about my haircut or whatever.

Enough about me, lets talk about you, what do you think about me?
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-13-2018, 06:47 PM
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Not even remotely. It's something I might notice on the news occasionally and think how repulsive they all are.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-13-2018, 07:07 PM
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Thinking about politics only makes me angry and disappointed, because it reminds me that for some reason being stupid or complete moron doesn't mean that you can't rule country...

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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-14-2018, 03:59 AM
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Wow, this is actually a GREAT thread and great question.

Politics do affect each individual (though some more than others depending on their social and financial status). But in most cases for most individuals, whatever happens politically and whatever outcome there are, the effect is usually minimal and happens very slow and gradually overtime. Many people are aware of this and why most of them choose not to pay attention to politics or bother to vote, because they don't think it's worth their investment in time and effort to familiarize themselves with political issues. They rather would focus on things directly in front of them. Like their family, jobs or people. This is why most people that talk about politics or vote are mostly older people. And a lot of retirees. Because they have the time and they need to keep themselves occupied and amused with things. Some younger crowds that do the protests do this when a hip and trendy political social topic comes up. Most of them that do did so just to join a crowd and be a part of a group. Do most of them really know the ins and outs of what they are protesting about? Probably not...

For you, I guess it is also a way for you to keep yourself amused with things. We all need to have something for us to follow on and keep up with to distract your minds from directly what's in front of us. Most of us watch tv or movies or such. Many of us also pay attention to politics, which is a good thing since it does affect us in some ways and it is educational. You learn to see things in various aspects. Often times the dark side and corruption of humanity.

Enjoy any good things, even the little and menial ones, as you will never know what impending distresses could descend upon you in a moment.

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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-14-2018, 03:24 PM Thread Starter
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Hm, I guess I can see how I could find the topic pointless if I were living in a stable country. I feel like my mind is constantly looking for data to figure out what will happen in the future, or how bad things are going to get. Seems kind of dumb to stress over things I can never change though.

Ma 'alena
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-16-2018, 08:55 AM
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I can totally relate. I got so annoyed with Trump during the election I actually started having hallucinations of Hillary Clinton who came to comfort me.
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