No matter how much things change, they stay the same. According to new numbers, when citizens of the United States lie awake at night, the old standby anxieties are still the most popular. Americans are concerned about money, or the state of their relationships. In the age of Trump, however, a new cause for concern is creeping into minds across the country: politics.
A study conducted by Bankrate.com revealed that as many as 34 million Americans — 1 in 7 of us — are currently losing sleep at night thinking about the fantastically awful level to which the American political landscape has sunk (it’s as though we’re submerged in a swamp). Right side and left side alike are losing valuable sleeping hours worrying about the future of the nation.
Fear not, concerned citizens, there is a cure for your anxieties … just stop paying so much attention to politics. Cut it out.
Seriously, stop it. You have circles under your eyes, and you’re bumming everybody out.
Why Are You Getting So Worked Up About Politics, Anyway?
If you read the question above and scoffed while thinking something along the lines of, “Because politics is important, moron,” you are correct. You’re a supercilious turd, but you are correct. Politics are critical aspects of each of us. When individuals form political ideas, those notions get elevated to the all-powerful level of beliefs. You then incorporate those political stances into your personal identity, and they literally become a part of you.
So, when someone proposes an idea contradictory to your politics, your brain interprets it as a personal assault. Specifically, your amygdala — the bit of your brain associated with emotion, fear, and anxiety — shifts into overdrive. One way to say that is: the more you care about politics, the less capable you are of thinking rationally about politics.
For proof of this argument in action, see LITERALLY ANY TWEET from Donald Trump.
Another extra classy and fact-based missive from the Donald. It’s just the kind of restraint you want in a world leader.
Just Think About Other Stuff; There’s (Almost) No Downside
If you’re one of those silly people who consider it a societal duty to pay attention to what’s going on around you, there’s hope. First, you should know that you’re exhausting to be around and you should definitely consider a change. Try watching some episodes of Family Guy to blunt your IQ and just go from there.
Second, you can take comfort knowing that giving up on following politics doesn’t mean you have to give up PRETENDING you follow politics. You might even get more confident in your political stance. A psychological theory called the Dunning-Kruger effect maintains that people who know the least about a given topic will be the most secure in how much they know; meanwhile, experts on a given subject will often discount their ability.
Let’s put that in perspective. The Dunning-Kruger effect theorizes that people who can’t tell their butthole from their elbow are unaware of how dumb they truly are. In other words, uninformed people have no way of knowing the staggering amount of crap they don’t know. Therefore, uninformed people live comfortably in the (incorrect) knowledge that they know a bunch. Once again, we turn to our fearless (because he’s too stupid to be afraid) leader, Donald Trump, to glimpse a practical example of this thesis:
See? He’s absolutely wrong, but he has no way of knowing that because he’s very, very stupid. Ignorance is like wrapping yourself in a warm blanket.
Meanwhile, if you study up, you get a proper picture of how much you cannot possibly know about an issue, which makes you more inclined to cede what little knowledge you have.
If you stubbornly insist on — ugh — “doing your civic duty” you could always try a few of these methods for venting your frustrations before bed:
DO Take Up Smoking. Hey, while you’re giving up, you might as well do it right. Bonus: you can “vent your frustration” any time you want, provided you’re more than 50 feet from a building’s entrance, and you’re nowhere near Boulder, Colorado.
DO Scream into a Pillow. You’ll feel better, and the ab flexing technically counts as a workout, and “technically” is the best kind of workout.
DO Drink Yourself into a Stupor. What? Still better than hitting the gym.
DON’T Take Up Charity as a Hobby. I know what you’re thinking. “If I’m opting out of politics, I might as well still help humanity, right?” Gross. Charity work sucks.
DO Try Journaling. You’d be amazed at how therapeutic it can be to pour your thoughts onto the page, even if you just write the F-word for 15 pages every night.
DON’T Try Journaling on Twitter. That’s where the monsters live.
Unfortunately, there’s a two-fold problem with pursuing either of these so-called solutions. First, they all involve, you know, doing stuff. Second, you’ll build up a tolerance to the screaming, to the drinking, to the journaling … okay, maybe not so much with the journaling.
Ignorance is so much simpler and more healthy.
You’re Harming Yourself (and Annoying Others)
Even if you’re not one of the statistically 1 in 7 Americans losing sleep already, you could be among those people who have experience increased stress as a result of a dumber-than-average orangutan holding court in the White House. In fact, according to Vice, “71 percent percent of Americans ages 18-44 report feeling anxious due to the results, and 64 percent agree that Donald Trump as president is causing more people to have anxiety.”
Stress can manifest itself in a bunch of awful ways including panic attacks, goosebumps, teeth grinding, chest pain, and even some that really matter like skin problems. Excess stress and anxiety can also cause sleep deprivation, which, in turn, can cause moodiness, depression, and reduced sex drive.
So, if you want to end up a sexless grump with lousy skin, go ahead and pay close attention to the political scene. I dare you.
There’s Other Stuff to Care About, Like … What Are the Kardashians Up To?
Listen, on the level, the world doesn’t need you getting all up in arms about stuff. The odds are good that even if you do participate in politics and take an active place in the world, the bad guys will still win. Or else, the bad guys you vote down will be replaced with more bad guys. Donald Trump and his dummies aren’t the end of the line, they’re the first monsters to creep out of Pandora’s box. Sorry.
Just rest comfortably knowing that things won’t get too bad until at least a few years after you’re dead … probably. In other words, it sounds like all this junk is your kids’ problem. So, unclench, give up, and let yourself drift into the sweet abyss of willful ignorance. You’ll live longer.