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As the uncertainty of the 2020 election continues, the absence of control and certainty might be kicking your anxiety and stress into overdrive.

Here are some quick reminders for how to manage anxiety and depression, prioritize moderation, and cling to self-care.

 

Tips for managing anxiety, depression, and tough conversations:

  • Shy away from black-and-white thinking … look for opportunities for “both/and” thinking rather than “either/or, black-or-white” thinking (ex: “my friend/family member/neighbor, etc. has an opposite political view than me and I can still have a relationship with them … and my relationship with them doesn’t make me complicit in their views/their vote, etc.)
  • Return to self-care basics today:
    • get outside; sunshine directly increases dopamine, a feel good neurotransmitter.
    • be intentional about your media and social media consumption.
    • stay presentthese grounding techniques can help, and I’m pasting the usual ones I share with clients below.
    • focus on what is in your control
  • Try a guided meditation – Calm app is my favorite, and headspace is another favorite
  • Try some of these mental health apps, which put coping skills right at your finger tips
  • Expect Difficult conversations…
    • Respond rather than React:  think about ways you can take care of yourself in these conversations by responding in a way that you’ll feel good about later, rather than reacting in a way you might regret later
    • Set Boundaries … share what’s okay, what’s not okay and why (i.e. ‘It’s okay to ask why I voted this way, but it’s not okay to insult me because it damages our relationship and we both don’t want that)
    • Assumption of Similarity … if you find yourself attributing a positive trait to yourself, try to see some of that trait in the person you’re talking to.  If you find yourself attributing a negative trait to this person, try to see some of that trait in yourself as well.

As we wait for results, below are a few resources that might help:

The Grounding Techniques I share with all clients:

When your mind is racing mind, grounding brings you back to the here-and-now and is very helpful in managing overwhelming feelings or anxiety. It is a great way to calm down quickly.Grounding basically means to bring your focus to what is happening to you physically, either in your body or in your surroundings, instead of being trapped by the thoughts in your mind that are causing you to feel anxious. It helps you stay in the present moment instead of worrying about things that may happen in the future or events that have already happened (but you still find yourself going over and over them in your head).

Grounding techniques focusing on the MIND (aka cognitive) AWARENESS:

  • Comforting self-talk, e.g., “That was then, this is now.”
  • Directed imagination (Safe Place, Visual Container)
  • Remind yourself of who you are now (state your name, age, where you are, etc.)
  • Identify cognitive distortions and challenge them (I’ve attached two handouts on cognitive distortions)
  • Imagine a STOP sign in your head
Grounding techniques focusing on the BODY (aka sensory) AWARENESS:

  • 5 Senses Exercise (name something you can see, hear, feel, touch, and taste in the room)
  • Immerse hands in cold/cool water
  • Blow forcefully through straw
  • Connect with nature – get outside, feel the grass under your feet
  • Gently clench and release
  • Hold something you find comforting
  • Take a sea salt bath
  • Smell a “safe” scent (essential oils, candle, etc.)
Grounding techniques focusing on the BREATH:

EMDR-based apps for Anxiety and Sleep:

These apps use bilateral stimulation (which is used in EMDR) and therefore require using headphones for them to be effective: