OVERCOMING ELECTION ANXIETY
After a short glance on Facebook and receiving calls and texts from friends and family, there is an overwhelming feeling of election anxiety in our nation and most likely in our world. The morning after the election many people awoke to the news that Donald Trump will be our next president. A nation in shock is an understatement. Whether you are celebrating or grieving with this news, you most likely did not expect this outcome. People are feeling frustrated, irritated, unsafe and scared about the future and their own safety.
My son texted me from work to say that woman co-worker who sits next to him was crying and he didn’t know what to do. I also received a call from my niece who said she is worried about my sister, because she is having so much anxiety. By 10:00am this morning I received three calls from clients wanting a “tune up” to deal with the anxiety they are feeling from the election.
As a neuro-coach and hypnotherapist, helping people overcoming anxiety is what I love to do.
The first step in the after election triage is to take a long deep breath. Bringing your attention to your breath and into your body is the best way to calm yourself down. If you are consciously thinking of how your body feels- is it tight, rigid? Then you are no longer thinking about the election and what this means. Deciding where you are putting your attention is within your control.
Step two is to remember what you actually have control over. The election is over and what is done is done. We can only move forward. I personally refuse to allow things that are not within my control to interrupt my personal state of peace. You personally experiencing anxiety is putting you into fight or flight state, and I can promise you, will not change the results of the election. Ask yourself, is it helping you to have these feelings of being out of control? Just a shift in your thoughts will have an effect on your brain, as well as the chemicals that are flooding your system. When in anxiety, you are releasing cortisol and adrenaline. When you are breathing and relaxing, you will release dopamine and serotonin, which will naturally calm yourself.
Step three is to create a resource state when your thoughts go back to the anxiety. What is a resource state? Think of a time when you felt safe and relaxed. Close your eyes and bring that memory to life. What did you see, what were you feeling and what did you hear when you were feeling safe? Practicing this exercise when you experience anxiety will interrupt the pattern of anxiety and eventually you will override that behavior completely. This is called neuroplasticity and will rewire your mind and Leave you feeling more in control.
Step four is to add a mantra to the above exercise which will further shift your brain state. Remind yourself that in this moment you are safe, nothing has changed in your life and all is well. Because right now that is true. You can say to yourself “I am safe right here, right now.” This will bring your focus back to your resource state and away from your anxiety. Giving you even more control over your mind.
Step five is to make a decision to protect yourself from people and situations that will upset or frustrate you. Taking a break from the news and social media, like Facebook is a great start. It is your job to manage your state and if viewing newscasts or Facebook is upsetting you, then it’s probably a good idea to refrain from these things until you are in a stronger state of mind. The same goes with friends or family who tend to talk negatively around you. Change the conversation or limit your time spent with them. Making a conscious decision to protect your mind and mental state will leave you feeling more comfortable and can be empowering.
Remember, only you create your reality. Everything in life is energy, and where your attention goes, energy flows. This is true whether the energy is love or fear. Take back your power and choose wisely on where you place your focus. Moving forward, if you want a change on the political level, create it. Get involved locally, research topics, and make the changes you most want to see in the world.