In the United States, Election Day is upon us. This is the moment that we have all been anxiously waiting for the results. While it is incredibly common to have heightened anxiety about the election, this article will focus on the things you can do to decrease election stress to hopefully help you breathe easier.
Prepare yourself mentally for delayed results
We may not even get the final results on Election Day. Lynn Bufka, a psychologist with the APA, explained to NPR, “The reason that’s important is mentally if we’re expecting a clear answer and we don’t have it, that just extends the uncertainty for us.” This is why it is incredibly important to know that the results we get on Election Day may not be final.
Instead of anxiously waiting for the election results, Bufka suggests doing activities that help you to relax like yoga, reading or taking a nice bath.
When you feel your stress levels and anxieties rising, one good technique to practice is grounding yourself. Dr. Judson A. Brewer, director of research and innovation at the Mindfulness Center at Brown University explains in the New York Times a quick grounding technique to get your mind off of any lingering anxiety or stress:
“Take a moment to focus on your feet. You can do this standing or sitting, with your feet on the ground. How do they feel? Are they warm or cold? Are they tingly? Moist or dry? Wiggle your toes. Feel the soles of your feet. Feel your heels connecting with your shoes and the ground beneath you.”
Reigning in your stress-induced habits
I know that I am completely guilty of eating anything and everything when in times of stress. But this may do more harm than good. Vaile Wright, senior director of health care innovation at the American Psychological Association, explains that it is critical to practice healthier stress-induced habits at this time. She clarifies, “We need to be eating healthy. We need to really be getting the right amount of sleep. We need to be staying active. That can mean even just going for a walk. And we need to maintain those social connections.”
According to Kelly McGonigal, a health psychologist and lecturer at Stanford University, “It just takes a short burst of exercise — three minutes to be exact — to improve your mood.” Do what you need to do — dance, walk, yoga, whatever! Just get your body moving for at least three minutes to improve your mood.
Twitter and other social media sites made it easy for us to get breaking news wherever we are. Unfortunately, this may actually make us even more stressed according to Wright. So, stop scrolling for hours on end through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or even Tiktok. Instead, replace it with something better for the mind, heart and soul.
Can’t knock it until you try it! Aromatherapy has been known to help many individuals reduce their stress levels. According to the New York Times, A study of 141 pregnant women found that rubbing or soaking feet with lavender cream significantly reduced anxiety, stress and depression.
Don’t know where to start? Try lavender, lemon, sage, or even jasmine as recommended by Marlynn Wei M.D., J.D.
Accepting what is
Sometimes we just need to simply accept what is to reduce our stress and anxiety. No matter what happens, we are all together. Worrying about the future won’t change the results. We can only keep moving forward.