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Staying centered amid tension / staying sane in election week

It can be hard to stay centered when there’s so much intensity swirling in the world right now. 

I’ll share some tools that work well for me, and hopefully this will provide some ideas that may be helpful for you.

Name it. Simply finding the words to name feelings is in itself calming (research with brain scans shows this), which is partly why journaling is so beneficial. Be specific: I’m feeling [fill in the blank: anxious, scared, overwhelmed, stressed, worried, nervous, ungrounded, etc.] 

Feel the energy. Next, try thinking about that feeling in a different way, as simply energy. What does the energy you’ve labeled anxiety FEEL like in your body, for instance. Now you can work with it more readily.

Move your body. For me, if things are very intense, I’m much better at centering myself when I literally move unhelpful energy out of my system first. One great way is going for a long walk. Or jumping on the kids’ trampoline. You can also just take your hands and brush off your body, imagining the energy being cleaned off in the process. 

Another quick process that involves minimal movement (but is highly effective) is tapping. See this post if you’re interested in learning more about that: http://www.takecareguide.com/news/2020/03/three-quick-and-easy-ways-to-stay-centered-and-calm-anxiety/ 

Also, laughter is one of the most powerful—and fun—ways to move and transform anxious energy into something lighter. Listen to or watch things that make you laugh. 

Get in nature. The natural world is, of course, extremely grounding. Walk or otherwise move your body in nature. Or simply sit among trees or near a body of water.

Meditate, pray, breathe. There are many types and techniques, and the more daily practice you have, the easier it will be for you to remain centered amid chaos and also to regain your center more quickly if something knocks you off balance. 

One nice place for beginners is Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Mindfulness-Based Stress-Reduction (MBSR) programs...do a search online for “MBSR” and “mountain meditation” or “lake meditation” for a sample. Also, I have some quick and easy calming breathing tools in this post: http://www.takecareguide.com/news/2020/03/three-quick-and-easy-ways-to-stay-centered-and-calm-anxiety/

Take a bath. Soak in an Epsom salt bath and consider lighting a candle or bringing in some calming music or essential oils.

Unplug. Turn off your devices as often as possible and for as long as possible. For me on Election Day, that will mean everything is off all day, with the exception of a couple group meditations / prayers on zoom. (No worries, my people know that sometimes the only way to reach me is by carrier pigeon). 

If we want to have autonomy over my own thoughts, feelings and energy and if we want to stay centered and grounded, unplugging is really helpful. This is especially important for people who are empathic or highly sensitive (the term highly sensitive is not to be confused with over-reactive, rather being highly sensitive is a trait that’s basically about perceiving extra information). See this post if that might be you: http://www.takecareguide.com/news/2018/04/two-things-15-20-of-us-could-have-used-from-the-womb-on-(calling-all-sensitives-and-empaths!)/

And there you have my personal plans for Election Day (and maybe for a while beyond): walk in nature, take a bath, meditate / pray and unplug. 

My best wishes to you and yours.

p.s. for more tools, see my post with over 50 ways to help manage anxiety: http://www.takecareguide.com/news/2020/04/50-ways-to-manage-anxiety,-for-kids-and-adults/

And my book, “Take Care: The Balance Guide”: https://www.amazon.com/Take-Care-Balance-empowering-lasting/dp/1535198303

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