With the election less than a couple of weeks away, it’s totally normal to be feeling overwhelmed and stressed by all the commotion. Nobody knows the outcome or its implications for the future of our country. But one thing is for sure - you can decide on the outcome of your own happiness, regardless of what happens this November.
You’ve probably been through other elections before. Perhaps you even remember some times of difficulty for the whole nation. Yet even through the toughest times – whether on a personal or a national level – you’ve made it to the other side. There’s no reason this time should be different. You are stronger than you think!
While it takes practice, it is possible to cultivate feelings of inner peace and calm even while the rest of the world is in fear. By working on strengthening your mental muscles of resilience, you’re doing something your future self will thank you for. You’re voting for your own ability to navigate life with more ease during tumultuous times like these.
Let’s look at a few simple ideas that can help you cope during the election so that you can keep radiating your strength regardless of what happens.
“May I have the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” - Author unknown
You’ve probably heard some version of this serenity prayer quoted above. It holds a deep truth and the first step to feeling more peace: knowing the difference between what you can and can’t control.
Instead of worrying about something you can’t control, use this time to focus on what you can control. This includes deciding how to live your life and how you will feel about yourself and others.
Think about all the things you do on a daily basis that have nothing to do with who is in the White House. These include activities such as choosing how to take care of your mind, body, and soul. Here are some ways you can still control your own well-being:
Having a regular exercise routine
Feeding your body with nourishing foods
Keeping your brain sharp by learning new things and skills
Keeping your mind happy by choosing to be grateful daily
Boosting your ability to stay calm and content by practicing meditation
Staying inspired by reading uplifting content (yes, this includes being more conscious of the content you consume online...consider curating your social media feed or setting a designated time to check the news so you’re not hit with political news 24/7!)
Another thing you can control even today is your commitment to your goals and dreams. Whoever is going to be in the White House will only be there temporarily...the next 4 or 8 years. But your life’s goals and dreams - if you choose to move towards them - will be with you for the long-haul.
Perhaps you’re feeling inner tension as you think: “I have no idea what my life is going to look like after this” or “What if (fill in your biggest fear about the election), or “I can’t be happy when I don’t know what’s next.”
In moments when you catch these thoughts surfacing, decide to pause. Notice the thoughts - and then flip them around. Instead of worrying about the uncertainty, decide how you will live your life regardless of the outcome.
Think about all the goals you want to achieve. Have you written them down? If so, have you outlined some specific action steps you could take to make them happen? If there are things holding you back from executing on these goals, examine them further.
Is it a lack of information – lean on Google! Is it a lack of resources? Shift your focus on how you can first get the necessary resources to move forward. Is it self-doubt? Shift your focus on the courage and strength you’ve already demonstrated in the past.
Feeling overwhelmed often forces us to re-examine what we should be focusing on most. Use this time to examine your priorities. As you review your goals and dreams, assign how important each is to you and then look at the plan you’ve created to get there.
Now, in regards to the election in particular, write down the things that most worry you. What does it mean for you if these things were to actually happen? Think about what you may need to do in case that a certain policy thwarts your plan A. Create a plan B if you’d like.
Your brain hates that feeling of uncertainty. That’s why it sends pangs of stress into your bloodstream. It’s trying to get you to either take action, change your mind, or create a plan. Having a plan puts your brain at ease, relieving those feelings of stress and anxiety.
Learning how to vote for yourself takes practice. You have to keep voting for all of your empowering thoughts at the cost of banishing your limiting beliefs. You may have been conditioned to think that you don’t have much control over your life. It takes time to replace those limiting beliefs.
The neural pathways in your brain that are associated with feelings of empowerment and confidence have to be strengthened, again and again, until they can stand on their own. Meditation helps you get more familiar with those mental patterns that leave you feeling powerless. When you meditate, you’re not just reducing stress. You’re also boosting feelings of self-empowerment so you can be more resilient no matter what happens in the world.
Recognize those instances when your mind instinctively wants to gravitate towards stressful thoughts. Learn to notice these automatic reactions. The more often you can notice these impulses arising within you, the less power they will have over you. You’ll come to understand that if you can keep your body sitting still in meditation, you can keep it from overreacting to any particular piece of information from the world. You can control the stress response by being an observer of your body’s reactions!
“Embrace uncertainty. Some of the most beautiful chapters in our lives won't have a title until much later.” —Bob Goff
Uncertainty is part of life. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be bad. It’s your judgement and your perception that colors events. The way you see the world determines how bad or good you feel. So how do you actually learn to embrace uncertainty so that you can feel better and enjoy life more fully?
One way is to think back to those times in your life when uncertainty turned out to be a good thing. Positive surprises are just the other side of uncertainty. You’ve probably met a lot of great people and have come across many great opportunities - without ever having planned for those things to happen!
How do you become more aware of your habitual judgements and perceptions that keep you in a negative cycle? By sitting quietly and observing them! In the quiet space that meditation can provide, you recognize that no matter what appears in this moment - you are still here. Whatever happens, happens. You don’t have to push it away or cling to it. Without letting emotions take over, you have the power to decide how you will respond to whatever life is presenting next.
We know the stakes are high. But no matter what happens in this election, you are the creator of your life. We believe in you and your power to master your happiness by taking care of yourself.
We’re here to help you find that inner calm daily - especially in these crazy times. Come meditate with us free every Sunday at 6pm PST. Check out our latest meditation class schedule and save your spot today!