This article was written by Karuna and first published by Elephant Journal.
This week, as we look toward midterm elections in the United States, if you’re like me, you may be feeling extra anxious.
Even those of you outside the U.S. might be feeling the potential global impact of Tuesday’s election results.
I don’t think it’s a secret that our political atmosphere is one of division. Even if you aren’t personally concerned with politics or following closely, it’s hard to miss the headlines, the posts, the yard signs, and so on. There is, in short, a collective anxiety undercurrent all around us, folks.
If you’re feeling this, try invoking these five strategies to work with the stress of election week (and any other time you experience anxiety as well!):
1. Armor Up
When we anticipate a potentially stressful situation arising in the future, this is the time to engage our formal seated meditation practice. Schedule some time to sit each day and put it in your calendar like you would any other activity you are committed to. As you know, one of the reasons that we sit and meditate is to work with the present moment in all of its glory, including the good, the bad, and the ugly.
2. Invoke Self-Care
Our body and our mind are inherently connected. Spend a little extra time pampering yourself, including getting plenty of hydration, committing to an extra hour of sleep, reading poetry and listening to music, and getting outside for a walk or some other activity that is nourishing for you!
3. Limit Your Social
One of my teachers, the late Brian Kelly (Lama Marut), used to encourage his students to drop their hot coal of suffering. If friends and relatives are posting their opinion left and right in your feed and on theirs, consider taking a social media fast—dropping the hot coal of social media. This is especially true if you find yourself getting triggered. If you’re feeling extra nervous, consider also turning off the news until Wednesday morning. The results will still be there, and there’s nothing you can do about it anyway.
4. Ground Yourself
Engage in practices designed to help you ground yourself, like gentle pranayama, dancing to bass-heavy music, and eating foods like root veggies, sweet potatoes, and almond butter. If you feel yourself spinning out, go for a walk and feel your feet connecting with the earth. It’s snowy up by me, but if you have the option of getting your feet on the ground or in water, feel how it improves your mental state of being.
Sometimes when things are tough, we suffer silently or alone. Instead, try connecting with your community over the coming days. Whether it is a meditation community, like the one that I founded on Mind Oasis, called Community Meditation™, a local yoga studio, or your favorite coffee shop, being around like-minded people who you enjoy can be a nourishing reset for anxiety.
We’re in this together, and as we engage these nourishing activities, we improve our personal well-being. When we take care of ourselves, we can better care for others. This is a powerful way to heal the divisiveness and to find peace of mind and peace in our hearts.
I wish you an easeful week!
At Mind Oasis, we believe in the power of meditation coupled with, well anything. But especially community and intention. Be sure to check out our signature program Community Meditation™ and see how your practice takes off when it gets consistent. We’re talking way more than feeling more calm and capable of dealing with life as it happens, we are talking about feeling the positive effects of your time on your cushion in every aspect of your life. Learn more here.
Interested in going deeper? Consider joining our annual Meditation Immersion.