In our current political climate, many of us are experiencing new stressors that we may not know how to recognize or confront in our daily lives. The first step to attending to our mental health is to recognize what may be affecting us negatively. Something like discrimination can be obvious, but it can also be subtle and continue to be just as damaging. Read on to learn more about how discrimination may be affecting you, in order to help us all learn how to combat it more effectively!
HOW DISCRIMINATION MAY BE AFFECTING YOU
by Madison Wright
Discrimination is something that millions of people face everyday in America today. With the election of the new president of the United States there has been a spike of racial tension across the country. Discrimination can be very hurtful to people, but studies have shown it could be hurting more than just your feelings. According to Sherry L. Owens, those that face more discrimination day to day have more problems sleeping (Psychosomatic Medicine, 2016). Sleeping poorly has short-term and long-term affects on the body. Lack of quality rest will first appear as fatigue and exhaustion; however, it can also lead to health problems, like cardiovascular risks and increased mortality in the long run (Psychosomatic Medicine, 2016). Although the study was conducted with older participants, at an average age of 43, I feel that these findings are very relevant for millennials.
Adolescents are very active in politics today and have a very low tolerance for racism and discrimination. This combined with heightened acts of racism in the momentum of the election has plagued adolescents with stress, in addition to the stress they already have from school or work. If those things weren’t already causing them to stay up late or sleep poorly, then the discrimination they face, whether they realize it or not is weighing them down. I find this issue to be very important and I think it’s crucial for students to take action against these affects. I think that coping techniques to help with stress could be very beneficial in these circumstances and could help young people learn to balance external stressors, like racism and discrimination, along with every day stress, like school and work. Although these are hard times for those who do not agree with the current political climate and agenda, the most important thing for people to do is to take action to maintain their mental health.
Sherry L. Owens, Haslyn E.R. Hunte, Amanda Sterkel, Dayna A. Johnson, Vicki Johnson-Lawrence. Association Between Discrimination and Objective and Subjective Sleep Measures in the Midlife in the United States Study Adult Sample. Psychosomatic Medicine, 2016.