Mindfulness strategies can help clinicians and patients alike to ease election-related anxiety and promote positive mental health.
Many clinicians and patients are experiencing stress related to the current political climate and upcoming election, compounded by the strain of COVID-19. However, there are ways to reduce election-related and other anxieties. Here are a few strategies you can share with your patients, and practice on your own:
8 strategies to manage stress and anxiety:
1. Note what’s in your control, like who you vote for, and what’s not.
When your mind focuses on what you can’t control, come back to what you can.
2. Limit the amount of time you spend on election-related news.
Check only once or twice daily.
3. Fully focus on the activity you’re engaged in.
Continue to redirect your attention to this activity when the mind wanders.
4. “Worry time”
If you’re spending a lot of time worrying, you can use “worry time,” whereby you spend 10 to 20 minutes a day writing down all of your worries (and possible solutions if there are any). Put this aside and for the remainder of the day redirect your attention to the activities you’re engaged in. In this way you can compartmentalize the worry to some degree.
5. Do one thing you enjoy every day.
Try to engage in one pleasant activity each day, like a walk outside, calling a friend, or watching a show that you enjoy. This doesn’t need to be a major event.
6. Focus on gratitude.
No matter the outcome of the election, we can always find something to be grateful for. List 3 things you’re grateful for at the start or end of each day.
7. Practice mindfulness.
Mindfulness can be a very useful strategy to return to the present moment when the mind gets caught up in negative thought cycles and catastrophic thinking. Take a few deep breaths and notice your senses to ground yourself back into this moment.
8. Try a grounding practice to return to the moment:
Notice 5 things you see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you hear, 2 things you smell, and 1 thing you taste.
These strategies can help clinicians and patients alike to ease election-related anxiety and promote positive mental health.