Post Election Stress Kit: Staying Engaged without Drowning in the World

Guest Post by W4C3 Coach: Deborah Herman biz-headshot-2011

Since November 8, I’ve been in touch with dozens of people stressed to the extreme about the state of the world and the nation. Many people, in these troubled times, will simply withdraw. This is a normal human reaction to extreme stress.

But others will want to stay involved. How can we stay in the world without drowning in its pain? Everyone’s stress kit will look different, but these techniques have a proven track record of mitigating the effects of long-term stress and fear.

Meditation practices. The scientific evidence demonstrating the health benefits of mediation practices is very solid. Good news: You do NOT have to sit in lotus position. There are many alternatives. Any activity that quiets the “monkey mind” will get you the health benefits you’re looking for. (I like walking meditations because they better fit my hyperactive nature.)

Want to learn how to meditate any place, any time, in less than 2 minutes? Check out this video from Zen master Mingyur Rinpoche. (Two minutes. He’s a genius.) Exercise. No time? Gym workouts aren’t for you? Just walk for 30 minutes a day. Research on anxiety and depression has clearly shown that aerobic exercise stimulates anti-anxiety effects.

Improve Your “Emotional IQ.” Often we know we’re “upset,” but are hard-pressed to name it beyond that. There’s pretty good research showing the better we get at accurately naming the emotions we feel, the better we are at managing them in a healthy way.

Control Social Media. Overexposure to social media – especially if it’s a stream of frightening or depressing news – is a recipe for ending up depressed and paralyzed. Check out the 5-minute social media plan from my Jan16 post. There are things we can do to prevent the siren call of pings and bells and whistles from luring us into another 20 minutes of fake news, scary headlines, and click bait.

Do Something. Anything. None of us can fix the world. But all of us can do something. Pick that one cause, charity, political campaign, non-profit, or volunteer activity you want to give time, money or energy to. When we take positive action, we feel less helpless and overwhelmed, and stay focused on the future.


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