Imagine this: you walk through Facebook, through your news feed, happily reading status updates, laughing at funny comments and spying on some of the photos of your friends when you stumble on a photo or a video posted showing some hideous kind of animal cruelty. This beats in your heart, your gut and your head, and you spend the rest of the day trying to forget what you saw.
As longstanding ethical vegans, we do not need to see these pictures to understand what is happening to animals on farms, behind closed doors and even in broad daylight is inhuman and criminal. Let’s face it, this type of disclosure is an attempt to convince people in their news feeds, and even though it is important for the public as a change agent, can often make us feel shocked, sad and angry; emotions that can last long after the images have left our sight.
Sometimes it only takes a cruel image or a sarcastic comment about veganism to activate our response to stress, and these feelings are activated for too long and / or often, you may be endangering your health.
So what can we do, as concerned human beings and sensitive ethical vegans to remain alert, aware and educated, but also preserve our health, happiness and social vibe at the same time? How can we avoid being overwhelmed by sadness, or deeply depressed while others around us seem oblivious to what we know?
Below are 6 ways to cope with negative feelings that can occur in as vegans in a world predominantly non-vegan:
1. Find out about what you have control
As in any situation in life, the only thing that we control is about ourselves. Despite the tireless and noble activism, we may not be able to end all animal suffering immediately, but we can decide how we act and react when we see, hear or read about the abuse of any sentient being. The next five examples address the ways to take control of your feelings so that you can be happy and healthy while helping animals.
2. Limit your exposure
Desensitization can never work with us, sensitive ethical vegans. Over time, the more we are exposed to animal cruelty, the worse we feel. I know why this is the case for me.
My goal is to keep educated as limit my exposure as much as possible. If I see a video on Facebook titled “Dog beaten by owner,” I presume I can vaguely guess what the video means, and avoid clicking the play button. Find out what causes you and then limit your exposure to these triggering events.
3. Stop a thought and replace a thought
Okay, you hit the play button of the video and can not stop playing the horrific images he saw, wishing you could change what happened. And now?
Stop a thought and replace a thought is an effective cognitive behavioral technique that can help you manage intrusive negative thoughts. The basis of the technique is that once you identify and become aware of your negative thought patterns, you consciously make an effort to change them, replacing them with thoughts that are more productive. To stop the negative thought patterns, you shift your attention away from thoughts that are harmful to your health.
For example, when you realize a repetitive negative thinking, use a phrase like “stop,” “go away” or “these thoughts are not welcome here” and choose a thought or healthier and more productive statement as a replacement.
4. Reframe your thinking
So let’s say you are a vegan ethical fervent, but their loved ones still consume animal products, and according to you, are participating in the commodification and animal cruelty. You educated them in a non-threatening and useful, but they are still opting to consume what they consider acceptable. This can leave any ethical vegan feeling helpless and hopeless, so what can we do to remedy the situation? This is where reframing comes in.
As the replacement of thought, cognitive reframing want to stop negative thought patterns, but with reframing, you are going a step further. The beauty of this is that you are not just changing your thought patterns, but you are aware assign new meanings to situations that may be triggering.
original thought, “I can not believe that my husband still eat meat after all he knows. It is being so selfish and insensitive. ”
reframed thought: “There is a lesson in this situation, and she is here to teach me to be more patient and less critical. This is an opportunity for personal growth. ”
Remember, the replacement thinking and reframing should not be used to avoid your feelings, but instead should be used when you are ruminating and thoughts become repetitive, harmful and possibly obsessive.
5. Productivity of negativity
Instead of focusing on cruel images you have seen or stories you heard and on the individuals involved, shift your focus toward something positive, such as what you can do to remedy the situations that make you feel uncomfortable and unhappy.
Write your senators, get involved in the animal activism or share your knowledge in a blog, website, or with friends. There are many ways to promote veganism – choose the ways that work for you.
6. Find a way out
When feelings become overwhelming, sometimes the only prescription is good old healthy outlet. Exercise, meditate, find support with individuals who think similarly, write, watch a funny movie, play with the animals loved ones that you care are great ways to release pent-up frustrations and activate the relaxation response.
About the claim that veganism is religion
The vegan ethical position is based ideologically on respect for animal rights and can be practiced by people of any creed, ethnicity, gender or sexual preference. But vegans are often labeled as religious proselytizing trying to “convert people to their beliefs.”
It should be noted how vastly different is choose to explore and consume animals and choose a faith. Believe in a faith or atheism is a personal decision that does not cause harm to others.
A belief system – secular or religious – can become both a stimulus to live an ethical life and compassion, as to justify a violent way of life. However, consuming animal products implies – at least – in slavery, violence and death of animals for products that we do not need to consume.
We categorically reject animal exploitation by the same ethical reasons why we are categorically against it do the same to humans.