With the presidential election wrapping up tomorrow, scores of Americans divided by their support for President Trump or former VP Joe Biden are also united. The commonality between us all is that we’re stressed about the election and stress triggers the release of cortisol, the so-called stress hormone, which affects mood, motivation and fear. It works with parts of your brain and the physiology of your body. You do need some cortisol to be motivated. But too much of it and you live in a state of ongoing anxiety, which (of course) is very bad for you. Today we’re going to talk about 5 tips for managing stress - today, tomorrow and in the weeks ahead - naturally!
Tip #1: MASTER THE MORNING N. Nowell, a licensed clinical professional counselor in the Chicago metropolitan area, subscribes to this motto: “If you can master your morning, you can master your day.’’ She recommends brief stretching exercises and writing down something you’re grateful for — preferably a new source of gratitude every day. Strenuous exercise (like sprints or jumping jacks for 30 seconds) that get the blood flowing, deep breathing and prayer can all help. If it’s anything over five minutes, people are less likely to do it, but everyone has three minutes to get their blood flowing. It’s been called priming by life-style coach Tony Robbins (and others) and if we take those three minutes to do it, then we can get centered for that day. It’s more about mental health than it is just physical health. It’s getting the blood flowing (for the body) but even for you to say, ‘I have control over something. I’ve got control over three minutes of my morning.’ Tip #2: THE 4-2-4 BREATH Dr. Kevin Majeres, Harvard Medical School professor in psychology and founder of Optimal Work recommends using this technique to center ourselves on the breath before beginning any serious, focused work - what he calls a “Golden Hour”
Inhale for a count of 4.
Hold the breath for a count of 2.
Exhale for a count of 4.
The idea is that we help re-oxygenate the blood, but also takes you out of fight-or-flight response, which is sometimes what we feel when we’re getting really anxious. It calms and slows us down. You can even do it in the voting line! Tip #3 : POST-VOTING PLANS Dr. C. Carmichael, a licensed clinical psychologist in New York, recommends making plans for after you vote — for anything from having lunch with a friend or exercising. “I would absolutely plan it out in advance, because it gives you a sense of control and it helps you understand a little bit more about what to expect, and it’s a form of self care,’’ she said. “Just the same way when we plan a vacation, we actually start experiencing the benefits of the vacation even before it happens, just because we know that it’s coming. It introduces just a small amount of certainty.’’ She also suggested writing a one page journal entry recording your thoughts and feelings about the election. “Sometimes writing it all down can relieve our brain of the burden of feeling like you have to keep all of those points active,’’ Carmichael said. “And thinking about the idea of potentially that page being passed on down to our children or our children’s children can also help to put the whole event into a little bit of perspective.’’ Tip #4: PRAYER For those of you who have been here for a while, you know this is my go-to. My plan for tomorrow is to bring my Mom to a doctor’s appointment and then for lunch. After that I’ll be at my church participating in a prayer service until the polls close in my state. Tip #5: Essential Oils (of course!) My favorites for anxiety? Siberian Fir for grounding and emotional balance, brain fog, exhaustion: https://bit.ly/2WZWJ6F Cypress both calming & energizing: https://bit.ly/3kSQpsX Sandalwood calming and relaxing, terrific for sleeping soundly or meditation: https://bit.ly/34OcWS7 Diffuse or blend all three in a roller bottle and top off with fractionated coconut oil. My favorite cute bottles with precious stones inside, here: https://amzn.to/3mKS6t1 Together we can do this - forward this blog to someone who really needs it today!