It seems election cycles become more stressful – or exciting, depending on how much you relish political drama – every four years. If the approaching 2020 election has you on edge, it’s important to remember that the power of the mind, and healthy mind-body-spirit practices, can help you center yourself.
Staying centered is particularly important as we begin to wind up a calendar year filled with extraordinary events. The pandemic, economic shifts, social upheavals and uncertainty about simple things like whether you will see school buses on the road this fall, have all taken their toll. Now, you may be hearing daily that our nation’s future hangs in the balance.
This spring, we wrote about developing the ability to remain stable during times of change. Resilience doesn’t mean we bounce back to where we were before; it means we grow. Like the pandemic, election stress offers us opportunities to grow – to turn off our smartphones, change how we use social media, ask “help me understand,” instead of yelling at someone for their beliefs, and to focus on universal concerns: compassion, mutual support and kindness.
You may want to try our Guided Imagery Pocket Guide as a way to relax and refocus. Or listen to my 15-minute “Breathing Healing” meditation. If you are struggling with depression, as former First Lady Michelle Obama and others have acknowledged, we also have a Depression resource.
Our blog article on managing election stress discusses the importance of calming your limbic system, also known as the “toddler brain.” We also suggest ways to act locally and nationally and manage disagreements with family and friends.
This issue of the newsletter includes a Toolbox for Fixing Election Stress that incorporates many of the mind-body practices we’ve talked about before, including paying attention to bodily sensations, journaling about your feelings, and meditating.
Finally, as we enter the fall cold and flu season with COVID-19 still around, it’s time to think about supporting your immune system. Along with stress management, immune system support is an essential part of staying as healthy as possible.
Integrative medicine can apply to areas we may not think of as requiring “medical” care – including the rigors of social change in an election year. These times may put us to the test, but we want to remind you that we are always here as a resource to help you thrive and grow.
P.S. Other resources for pain from our website include our guide to optimizing treatment, resources on women and pain and nutrition for chronic pain, and much more.