As we have heard from almost every newspaper source, the 2020 Election is the most important and most devastating election in history. As such, many people’s anxiety has been through the roof. In fact, according to an anonymous source, one person had witnessed a man going into a panic attack and screaming, “I’m going crazy!” while waiting on the polling line. Safe to say, these are not normal times and many Americans are bound to be stressed today as suspense and worriment abound about our next President. So here are some very simple methods of calming down and feel better for the day ahead.
Eat Throughout The Day: For Americans, this shouldn’t be too difficult! Not only does our favorite food provide pleasurable experiences for our taste buds and our brains, but according to psychologist Chad McLain, chewing increases blood flow in the brain due to the saliva flow and gives our brains the sensation that we are eating at the moment, not worrying. This will lower our blood pressure, as well as make us feel happier, even if for a few moments. Therefore, if you are feeling anxious, make sure you eat your favorite chocolate or pizza frequently throughout the day. For those who are dieting, chew gum as the chewing sensation distracts our brain from the anxiety.
Meditation: Simply closing our eyes and being reflective provides many benefits for us as humans. According to a study by Harvard Medical School, meditation not only significantly reduces anxiety, but it also reduces chronic pain, increases our memory, improves our sleep, gives us self confidence, and reduces depression. So for 15 minutes, close your eyes and imagine yourself in your comfort zone, whether at a beach, a snowy mountain, or Disneyworld. Think about the experiences that make you feel happy and apply those to your meditation. Think about the sound effects at these areas (waves crashing on the shore, the cold wind on the mountain, the kids screaming on the roller coasters) If you’re religious, you may want to say a prayer or two. Even after the election, meditation should be practiced everyday as you will feel more placid and more persistent in life.
Take a Warm Bath: The next time you are in the shower or bath, take a whiff of the steaming aroma. Make sure the water temperature is as warm as possible. According to an experiment in 2004 in Japan, the steam from a shower or bath reduces anxiety, boosts your immune system, and amplifies feelings of well-being. Therefore, the next time you in the shower, think about the warmth of the steam and the water itself rather than thinking about the thoughts that are stressing us out. You may just step out of the shower “warming up” about the current situation.
Smile: Even if humans are faking a smile, according to reporter Nicole Spector, smiling releases chemical neurons into our brains giving the sensation that we are, in fact, happy. Therefore, if we are feeling anxious and uncomfortable, faking a smile will make us feel happier and calmer during these times. (By the way, just some random trivia: you can tell a fake smile from a real smile because fake smiles don’t have creases around the eyes)
Practice the Military Bedtime Routine: This method of settling down is practiced by the U.S military themselves. Keep in mind that these are men who witnessed combat and even torture before their eyes and are expected to fight for their country, so you can bet your bottom dollar that these men will need a special technique at bedtime. Here’s how it works: start clenching your toes, thinking about everything you are stressed about. Once this tension is built up, stop clenching your toes and “release” all of this stress into the air. Next, clench your calf muscles and do the same routine: think about everything that is giving you anxiety and “release” it. Practice this with your stomach, your arms, your neck, and finally your head, until your whole body has “released the stress”. This will reduce anxiety and make us calmer before the day’s events and at bedtime. Take it from the U.S Military: IT WORKS
Think About the Positives: The main idea behind anxiety is that people think negatively and are uncertain about the state of the situation. Therefore, the next time you get in trouble at work or break up with your girlfriend, instead of thinking about your feelings, think “What did I learn from the situation?” This will make us feel more optimistic and thus reduce anxiety, even through stressful times. In the case of the election, think about the positives of your chosen candidate rather than the negatives. Looking on the bright side of any situation will boost confidence and reduce anxiety.
However, in these times, the biggest boost of comfort we can give is to know that things will go back to normal soon. In one week, America will go from worrying about the election to going right back to their normal lives. So if your’e feeling stressed right now, which nobody will blame you in you do, practice these techniques and hang in there!
Oh, and don’t forget to wear your mask! All the best!