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Election Stress: Simple Ways to Calm Down
Posted: 11/5/2012 | Happiness Comments
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We’re just one day away from the elections, and anyone who’s on Facebook these days (which is about half of all Americans) are exposed to a plethora of political views, jokes, articles, and arguments. We’re hot under the collar. News programs and websites are inundated with political information, and misinformation. Political commercials and advertisements abound. We’ve become polarized, and the differing views can sometimes feel overwhelming and divisive. How can we manage the additional stress and anxiety?

Regardless of your political perspective, it’s easy to feel frustrated by opposing viewpoints. Much of what we hear from both candidates is driven by fear: fear of economic disaster, negative social changes, and global conflict. While sometimes the controversy and drama of elections can feel exciting, it often creates more stress in our already hectic lives. You can reduce the negative impact by following a few, simple rules:
  1. Don’t be a news glutton. Try cutting your news intake by half. It’s so easy to surf the internet, clicking on link after link to read several versions of the same update. Stick to the program, blog, or analyst you prefer and avoid being driven to check all other sources. We’ve been conditioned to check the news several times a day. We don’t really need to know everything that happens, just as soon as it happens.
  2. Sleep well. Turn off your computer, television and phone a half hour before you close your eyes. Take this “unplugged” time to unwind and calm your mind before you sleep. When you wake up, give yourself a few minutes of quiet before you join the world again. Enjoy your morning ritual before you jump into your day.
  3. Take a walk and meditate. Give yourself short breaks during the day to walk briskly around the block and let go of tension. Breathe the fresh air and clear your head. If you can, sit for just a few minutes and follow your breath.
  4. Remember what we have in common. While you may not agree with everything expressed around you, keep in mind that we all live here in our imperfect world together. We all want our families to be safe, our children to thrive, our businesses to provide. Focus on the values we share, rather than what keeps us separate.
  5. Count your blessings. Even in the face of discord, you can be grateful for what you have. Think of your loved ones, your pets, the great things about your community. Think of all the possibilities for growth in your life, as well as in our country. Think of how wonderful it is to express ourselves, even if we don’t agree.
Take a little extra time to relax, and you’ll sail through the elections. Regardless of the outcome, take heart in our shared commitment to see our nation grow and thrive. Of course, if it feels difficult to manage your anxiety, please consult with your physician or psychotherapist. 
Have you experienced a lot of stress around the elections? What are you doing to maintain balance in your life? Remember, your comments make a difference for all of us!


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