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November 5, 2020

3 Mindful Ways to Cope with Election Stress & Anxiety.

I’ve been on edge since yesterday afternoon.

Okay, yesterday morning.

I’ve checked the news, refreshed headlines, scanned every little detail I can find to learn whatever update I can on the election. A part of me is obsessed. Restless. Scattered. Spacey.

It’s difficult to focus on anything apart from the election. And that’s okay.

Last night after work, I didn’t even try. Okay, let’s just accept that this is all I will be able to welcome into my space. This is all I care about right now.

The whole world is watching this election.

It’s fine to feel unfocused, scattered, and restless. It’s okay to feel nervous, scared, excited, hopeful, or on edge. We feel how we feel. It’s always okay to feel how we feel.

We just need to be present with it—feel it, acknowledge it, allow it. Accept it.

Accept this moment, this experience, and ourselves. Accept how we’re experiencing this moment. Accept how we are feeling and experiencing everything that is unfolding.

Feel it. Allow it.  Breathe into it.

Here are three mindful ways we can cope with election stress, restlessness, and anxiety:

1. Ground yourself.

Last night I went for a walk. I breathed fresh air. I felt a cold wind on my face and marveled at a large, stunning, orange-tinted moon. I moved, I breathed, I circulated energy, and I connected to my body and my heart.

Walking in nature grounds me; it soothes me. It helps me to feel connected to myself and the world around me. It pulls me out of my head and into my body and the greater space around me. It also helps me to think through, process, and release swirling thoughts moving around inside my head.

Walking grounds me.

What works for you? How do you center yourself? How do you ground yourself? Can you go for a walk and connect with nature? Can you meditate, journal, cook, clean, or write? Or simply sit on your couch and feel your body in space? What can you do that brings you into your body—starkly into this moment?

When our thoughts are crazy and swirling and we can’t sit still, concentrate, or calm down, it helps to find a way to center and ground ourselves—to get into our bodies and a little out of our heads.

Walking works beautifully for me. What works for you?

2. Breathe.

Sit, breathe, focus on your breath—not in a “calm yourself” kind of way, but in a “let’s connect to our body and heart” way. Let’s feel our breath, the energy circulating around us and pulsing within us. Let’s feel into the chaotic dance of emotions and sensations that are moving in us and through us, as we breathe slowly and allow it all to happen.

Let’s bring ourselves to this moment by connecting deeply within—by connecting to ourselves. Let’s allow the energy to swirl…while we breathe into and through it.

Let’s not try to force ourselves to calm down or disassociate from the experience, but instead simply, gently breathe through it.

Try softly closing your eyes and taking a few deep breaths. Take a slow, deep inhale and soft, slow exhale. Do it again. Do it over and over and over again. Be present in the sensations, feel your breath moving in your body, and allow everything else your feeling to exist—to coexist in this moment.

Let’s be present for this experience, as we breathe softly, gently, intentionally into and through it.

3. Be kind to yourself and accept this moment.

We’re feeling whatever we’re feeling, and it’s okay. Restlessness, angst, nervousness, excitement, hope, dread, anxiety, stress—whatever the emotions, it’s okay. Let’s acknowledge them, feel them, sit with them, be present with them. Let’s allow them.

It doesn’t serve us to try to force ourselves to feel anything other than what we’re feeling.

Yesterday, I didn’t try to force myself to calm down—I felt unsettled. Last night, I couldn’t fall asleep because I felt so excited. I lay in bed and allowed it. This morning, I sat and breathed on my yoga mat because I wanted to allow whatever energy was coursing through me to be felt. It helped me to soften.

Be okay with not being able to focus. Be okay with feeling restless, uncertain, and a little on edge. Allow yourself to feel the inherent in-betweenness of these moments. The unsettledness, the excitement, the hope.

The election is close; we feel all of these emotions for a reason.

We care.

We care about the country, we care about the outcome, we care about the results.

We care about what this election means for us, for those we love, and for our future.

We care about what it means for the world.

This is a historical moment. It’s understandable that we might be feeling all sorts of different emotions. It’s understandable that we might feel spacey and restless and a little ungrounded—unable to focus on anything apart from the election.

It’s all okay.

We just have to allow ourselves to present in this moment, through these moments.

We just have to find a way to allow it.  To accept it. To breathe into it.

And to be fully present in it.

~

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