With the U.S. 2020 Election just around the corner (exactly one week from today), you might be falling into unwanted habits and mindsets— isolated at home, scrolling through social media, and feeling overwhelmed about all the uncertainty.
If you’re experiencing Election Stress Disorder (look it up — it’s a real thing!), then there’s no better time to practice mindfulness, awareness and compassion so you can up your resilience. Not only will focusing on your health and wellbeing help you stay afloat, it’ll also allow you to respond and make a positive impact from an empowered, clear-headed place.
When we fall into anxious mindsets, our reactivity skyrockets. Instead, bringing in some intentionality can do wonders for your mental and emotional clarity that will help you meet whatever challenges may come.
Here are three mindfulness practices that can help you develop adaptive resilience and ease your election anxiety:
Take a breath
Observe your body, feelings and thoughts
I use this practice all the time — and it’s such a simple one to integrate into your day-to-day. Whether you’re commuting, scrolling through the news, or in a difficult conversation, this is a practice you can do subtly that will allow you to pause and practice awareness. Even a 10 second pause, breath and body-scan will give your mind one more moment to move from reactivity to intentionality.
2. Practice compassion.
I’m sure you have loved ones you struggle to see eye to eye with. When we’re disagreeing with someone we care for, it can be that much harder to prevent our emotions from running the show in how we respond. Instead, cultivate compassion for them.
Think of a situation where you and that person had a different response — and you think theirs was the wrong response. Mentally state the judgment you have of the other person — and be sure to exaggerate it so you’re clear on what it actually is. Then ask yourself, “Why do I think they behaved that way? What might be their underlying need?” Once you have that need in mind, take it one step further and ask yourself if there’s a way for you to connect to that need in them. While practicing compassion for another person won’t solve our differences (or change their response necessarily), it will begin to shift your response to them — and make way for more empathetic, productive interactions.
3. Ask for the help you need.
Don’t even know where to begin with your ballot? Confess to someone you trust that you don’t know how to get started — and then ask for help with research or finding a voter guide that can explain the issues more clearly to you. Feeling like you need someone to process your stress with? Ask for help. So many people are feeling exactly the same thing — but are potentially too afraid to reach out to someone else. You may be helping someone else at the same time you’re voicing your need. Feel confused about the issues? Model curiosity and ask lots of questions. There are so many people and organizations who would be willing to help you get clarity and make an informed decision.