If, like me, you’re prone to even a little anxiety, the days prior to the midterm elections in the United States can be challenging.
The punditry is off on a speculation-fest, and speculation is rarely good for our nervous systems. And a steady diet of bad news about the world and politics doesn’t help. I have felt my wheels of worry cranking up.
It’s time to let go.
Let’s assume that you’ve done or given what you could to support the elections or whatever has you worried. (It may rarely feel like enough.)
Then, what’s left is to let go, which, from my perspective, is the hardest thing of all. Telling someone to let go can be like telling an insomniac to relax and go to sleep.
Here’s what helps me:
Feel my feet
Anxiety starts in my head before running through my nervous system. Then it begins to run in endless loops like a hamster on its wheel. I can shift that by connecting to my body through my feet, doing embodiment exercises, or just feeling the weight of my butt on a chair.
I breathe better as I divert my attention from the parts of my mind whirling in worry.
Don’t pretend to know
Letting go means accepting that I don’t know how all of this works (the world or the elections), even if I have my hopes and preferences.
Pundits are paid to broadcast what they don’t and can’t know. While trends and data exist, the future cannot be determined through an algorithm. Or evaluated.
Is something good or bad? When the housing market crashed in 2008, house and land values on our island sank. (Bad.) We dealt with the after-effects on our land of a plume of arsenic from the Asarco Corporation. (Bad.) But lower land values and a large Asarco settlement meant the County could buy an endangered piece of land that was about to be mined to death. (Very, very good). I think of the irony of this each time I walk in our beautiful new park.
Laughter Yoga teaches us to laugh for the hell of it. This clip reminds us that we can laugh at whatever life throws us.
And this was just brilliantly funny.
I think love is better than any vaccine for protecting our systems. I’m not talking about a schmaltzy Hallmark variety, but an energy that we can generate and receive.
We don’t have to wait for a special moment to love. When we take a walk, we can expand our hearts just ‘cuz. Gratitude often asks for something to be grateful for. Love doesn’t require a reason.
I can start with my love for anything, like the one dahlia left in the garden, and then let that feeling expand. Soon I feel a bubble of energy around me that can go out into the world. As I receive it and send it, worry always goes down.
Connect with what matters
I am writing today while waiting for a loved one with a terrible cancer to awaken. As I sit in service, I’m sad, but I notice that my anxiety has plummeted. Standing in the reality of death and the shortness of life snaps my attention into focus. Yes, I care about the world, but for the precious moments I am here, I’m not squandering my time in worry.
I could write more about any of these thoughts, but first, I’d love to know what’s on your list.
Come what may, we’re in this together, and knowing that, we’ll make it through.