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Vote "YES" On Reducing Election Stress

Updated: Dec 17, 2020

As the uncertainty and stress of yesterday’s U.S. election continue to weigh upon us, it’s a perfect time to remember that our brains and bodies are not designed to handle prolonged, chronic stress! It’s up to us to befriend and work collaboratively with our own brain and body to help ourselves return from a persistent fight-flight-freeze state to a more restorative, balanced state. Neuroscience research tells us that it’s in this more relaxed state that we can function optimally, with greater flexibility and resilience, by allowing us to:

  • Think more clearly and problem-solve

  • Make better decisions

  • Focus our attention, improve our learning, and not get lost in distractions

  • Think creatively

  • Be aware of what’s going on around us, allowing us to choose our actions

  • Evaluate which things we can control and make peace with the things that we can’t

  • Connect with others socially; give and receive social support during stressful times

So how do we find that balanced state? Practice! Use this election to notice what your body feels like. Notice if your shoulders/neck feel tight (like mine do), your stomach is unsettled, or your chest feels heavy. Then slowly stretch those places where your muscles feel constricted, and breathe into those parts of your body that you notice the most. This will begin to soften, loosen, and release those distressed areas, allowing your body to slowly move back to a state of balance and flow. 

Other things we can do? Anything that moves your body and quiets your mind. Run a mile. Listen to relaxing music. Take a walk at a park. Doodle or paint. Call a friend. Notice what your feet feel like as they touch the ground. Gently hold your forehead for several minutes with the palm of your hand. This brings the flow of blood and oxygen back to your thinking brain. You may have even better ideas for what will work best for you.

As for me, I’ll head out for a walk with my shepherd dog and spouse, get some work done, do some Yoga With Adriene later on, meditate, stay away from television news and social media as much as possible, and enjoy being outdoors on this beautiful, sunny day -- watching my daughter in her happy place taking her horseback riding lesson. I’ll also say hello to the horses at the barn, who are generally far more grounded and wise than we are.

This generous act of showing up for yourself during turbulent times will carry you through. And it will ripple out to those in your sphere.

May the days and weeks ahead be peaceful and hopeful for all of us.


Founder, Wise Wellness Toolkit

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