Col­umn by Linda Marshall re­gard­ing Trump and anx­i­ety on Com­ment

It’s good to weed out news not worth know­ing, and not to ob­sess over cov­er­age

The Hamilton Spectator - - FRONT PAGE - LINDA MARSHALL

Af­ter­math. So of­ten we are re­minded that it’s not the ac­tual event that took place or the state­ment made that makes the most im­pact, but the af­ter ef­fects, the reper­cus­sions, the trickle-down ef­fects that cause the most long term dam­age.

Did you know that vol­ca­noes have a pos­i­tive ef­fect on the earth? Many of us learned that in school but it’s hard to re­mem­ber when all we hear are the wide spread dam­ages and the hor­rific af­ter­math they cause. The lava and ash from a vol­cano erupt­ing are so rich in nu­tri­ents that they break down into the soil and make very fer­tile farm­land. But sel­dom do we reap the ben­e­fits of that. We only re­ally know vol­ca­noes for caus­ing mud slides, earth­quakes, fast floods etc.

How are you fair­ing dur­ing this whirl­wind of news sur­round­ing the af­ter­math of the U.S. elec­tion and ev­ery speech Don­ald Trump has made? Even his press sec­re­tary and chief of staff backup his volatile re­marks and of­ten an­gry dis­po­si­tion. It’s dif­fi­cult to get away from it due to the mass me­dia. Ev­ery other post by peo­ple on Face­book and Twit­ter is fo­cused on a Trump re­but­tal, back­lash or opin­ion. The U.S. news shows on tele­vi­sion and ra­dio are con­stantly cov­er­ing each mo­ment of Pres­i­dent Trump’s day while the Amer­i­can talk shows are hav­ing a field day with his an­tics. It just doesn’t go away.

One step for­ward and two steps back. We live in an age where a fo­cus on be­ing pos­i­tive, bal­anced, and healthy emo­tion­ally and phys­i­cally is at the fore­front of most peo­ple’s minds. Many work­places see the vi­tal need to de­crease stress and cre­ate a cul­ture that lends it­self to pro­mote a much needed work life bal­ance. I work with many com­pa­nies that rec­og­nize the need to pay as much at­ten­tion to emo­tional in­tel­li­gence and self­aware­ness as they do to mas­ter’s de­grees and job ex­pe­ri­ence. At the same time that we have all of these pos­i­tive re­in­force­ments, there is still no short­age of neg­a­tive in­flu­ences.

There’s a say­ing ‘don’t bor­row trou­ble’. It’s an un­der­state­ment to say that around the world in­clud­ing our own coun­try, there are many ma­jor is­sues that are on­go­ing. We see it in the news daily. When we bor­row trou­ble it means we’re fo­cus­ing on things that don’t nec­es­sar­ily need our at­ten­tion but they get it. We think about an ar­ti­cle we’ve just read, words that were spo­ken that are hurt­ful, de­mean­ing and just ut­terly neg­a­tive. But we don’t need to mull them over and al­low them to take over our thoughts. We can learn from it and move on.

Meryl Streep made a pro­found state­ment re­cently at the Golden Globe Awards when she re­minded us to be care­ful of neg­a­tive in­flu­ence. When a per­son in power sets a neg­a­tive ex­am­ple, the rip­ple ef­fect is in the ac­cep­tance of that opin­ion. That’s be­cause a per­son in that po­si­tion who holds such a deroga­tory view­point, over time can di­lute our own opin­ions as strong as they might be. The neg­a­tive in­flu­ence can be emo­tion­ally ex­haust­ing and gen­er­ate feel­ings of un­hap­pi­ness and de­crease our self-worth.

We don’t want to bury our heads in the sand and be­come com­pla­cent. So it’s cer­tainly chal­leng­ing when we have strong feel­ings and con­cerns about what’s hap­pen­ing next door to our neigh­bours and how it may af­fect our coun­try. While we may wish to share our sup­port, there is a dan­ger of this con­tin­u­ous neg­a­tiv­ity in our lives. We all know the health im­pacts of stress. Just hear­ing or read­ing some­thing dis­tress­ing can have a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on your heart rate, your breath­ing, your fa­cial ex­pres­sions, your pos­ture — imag­ine what it is do­ing to your thought pat­terns. We must have a fil­ter­ing sys­tem and we all need to set bound­aries. What’s hap­pen­ing in the news around Trump and his tirades is a good test for us to weed out what’s worth know­ing about and what we should dis­re­gard. We can still be em­pa­thetic hu­man be­ings and stand up for what we be­lieve in with­out re­flect­ing the tirades or at­ti­tudes of oth­ers around us — even of the top man in charge.

Linda Marshall, born and raised in Hamil­ton, is a con­sul­tant, work­shop fa­cil­i­ta­tor and mo­ti­va­tional speaker, pres­i­dent of Marshall Con­nects and the Au­thor of “Giv­ing Back, How to Find Your Per­sonal Joy and Make a Dif­fer­ence to Oth­ers”


Ac­tress Meryl Streep gave per­spec­tive re­cently with com­ments warn­ing not to be over­come by neg­a­tiv­ity. Linda Marshall ad­vises to find a bal­ance.

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