There are probably a lot of different emotions occurring, given the results of the U.S. presidential election and other smaller elections that have taken place. One of those feelings may be anxiety (worry/fear).
Before that and other emotions overtake you completely, here are some things I, as a licensed therapist, suggest you try — especially if all of this has been traumatizing for you:
1. Stop watching or reading any type of news or social media. The same things being reposted and restated can increase our levels of worry and possibly make us feel unsafe. Log off, turn it off, and/or put it to the side. Go find another activity outside of these things that is enjoyable to give you and your mind a break.
2. Pause and breathe. Take a moment to take a few easeful breaths. With anxiety, one of the things that can happen is our breathing can become more shallow and rapid. This can lead to a more sympathetic nervous system response: racing heartbeat, feelings of confusion and worry, and other emotions, such as anger, for example. What we want to do is create a more parasympathetic nervous system response. Take a step back, have a seat, and consciously pay attention to your breathing. Allow it to gradually slow down with each exhalation. Also observe what you see in your environment (noticing colors, shapes, textures, etc.).
3. Reach out to others. Call, message and/or hug the people in your life who you care about. Reach out to a mental health professional for support. Sometimes, seeing or hearing a comforting word or having a warm embrace can let you know the world is not a bad place.
4. Regroup and figure out how you can help others. Once you have taken a moment or a few to decompress, think about how this has impacted you. What is it you can do to help others in your own community? What issues are important to you? Where does a difference need to be made? Because honestly, that is where real change starts. It starts from within. It does not have to be anything big. Most of the time, it is the little changes that add up to make a huge impact.
Then wash, rinse and repeat as many times as you need to throughout your day. Finally, this last piece of insight:
5. Make an attempt, each day, to come from a place of compassion. Not only for others you encounter, but also for yourself.
Editor’s note: This story reflects an individual’s experience and is not an endorsement from The Mighty. We believe in sharing a variety of perspectives from our community.
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