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Mental health and election: Tips for handling your emotions

You may be reeling from emotions, uncertain how to deal with stress and uncertainty over the next few hours – or days to come – and not sure what you can do to help the divided country. to heal.

Stress management expert, Dr. Cynthia Ackrill, an editor of the magazine “Contentment”, produced by the American Institute, said: “The challenge is that this happens amid too much uncertainty in the many areas – health, business, economics, society “by Stress.

“And since uncertainty is stressful for most humans, and all stress is additive, this overwhelms the already tiring coping skills,” Ackrill told CNN.

The tired brain does not function well, she explains, causing less blood flow to the frontal lobe executive functions such as creativity, compassion, emotional regulation, and opinion processing. contradiction and reasonable judgment.

Those are exactly the higher operating functions we need to manage uncertainty, take action and maintain hope, so it̵

7;s no wonder you might feel anxious, restless, exhausted. exhausted or depressed right now.

People reacted to the state that California is still the state of the Democrats on election night in West Hollywood, California, on November 3.

With this “chronic crisis” our need to feel more in control of something, so adding more uncertainty will frustrate and possibly frighten you, Ackrill said. CNN.

“Admit your fear,” said Ackrill. “Like all your emotions, it needs to be dealt with.”

While some fears are justified, “our brains can make the threat seem closer (or) worse,” she said. “Use that fear to push you to find places where you can control, where you can take action, where you can take care of yourself best so you can fit the challenge.”

Here are some steps you can take to combat anxiety, fear, and uncertainty.

Recharge your battery

“First, get access to that resilience toolbox,” said Dr. Tania Maria Caballero, associate professor of pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

“Recharge, re-energize, take a break from social media and take care of yourself. New ideas and positive energy don’t come from a tired mind,” she said.

5 natural ways to boost your mental health during times of stress

If your “tribe” on social media supports it, that’s one thing. However, experts say that all stress often flares when we can hide behind the keyboard.

“When I think of the angry expressions of others, especially on virtual platforms, I remind myself that in order to have a flame out of a spark you need to add more sparks. If you do not ignite it. Angry spark, you can’t start a fire, ”said Caballero.

Instead, Caballero offers to go for a walk; pick up the phone and talk to a good friend; and read a favorite poem, prayer or song.

“Think about the choices you make like adding to your energy or subtracting – how can you scale for more energy?” Ackrill said. “Every bit goes up, just like the energy expenditure increases the stress. (Make) small changes, small choices to nurture your best self.”

Be physical

“Move! You have enough strings to respond to the tension with the action,” said Ackrill.

Exercise will reduce those stress chemicals that build up, especially if outdoors among plants, she said.

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“Nature calms your brainwaves,” said Ackrill. “Dance to your favorite music. Music has a great ability to change your mood.”

Try to combine activities into “three play”, suggests Ackrill, where you can combine exercise with mental and natural support.

“Meet a friend for a walk outside – of course six feet apart with the mask!” she speaks. “Do something with your hands that you can immerse yourself in (the flow) while listening to good music.”

Choose healthy snacks

After the initial stressful eating, choose some brain-healthy snacks, suggested Ackrill. Omega-3 options like salmon, walnuts, and flaxseeds are brain boosters. Berries, such as blueberries. In fact, one review found that the antioxidants in berries could promote communication between brain cells.
Eggs are rich in choline, an important brain nutrient. And don’t forget your greens and leaves. One study found that people who ate only one serving of green vegetables like spinach, kale, bok choy and arugula per day perceived to be a decade younger than those who didn’t.

Choose to hydrate with water (not alcohol). Because alcohol is a depressant, drinking alcohol can drown your mood. It might not seem like that while you “remove” your inhibitions, but it’s just the brain-depleting drink we use to control our actions.

According to experts, the more alcohol you drink, the more negative emotions you will have such as anxiety, anger, and depression.

Try to relax – even meditate

Neuroscientist Richard Davidson, professor of psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and founder and director of the Center for a Healthy Mind, helped create a variety of meditation tracks to cope with pain. worry about voting.
Research shows that daily meditation can slow down the aging process in your brain
“What do we do with all these constant energy and anxiety?” is a question posed in a soundtrack called “Dealing with Election Anxiety”. It was created by the Center’s non-profit HealthyMinds Innovations, together with a second organization called “The Healing Division”.

One solution is to “get curious” and observe your thoughts, according to the presentation. “And here’s the key – don’t try to suppress these thoughts, don’t even try to change them. It gives them more power.”

Then remind yourself that “thoughts are not real. Watch any thoughts that arise as if you were watching some dramatic TV show. … They are not real. . “

Davidson is famous for his studies of the brains of Tibetan Buddhist monks recruited by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. He found that tens of thousands of hours of meditation had permanently changed the structure and function of monks’ brains.

If meditation is not your business, then try a mental distraction, Ackrill suggested.

“Think about activities that really boost your mental energy,” she says. “Read novel. Do a puzzle. Mainly take a little break so your brain can restart. Be more deliberate in how you use your brain.”

Get some zzzs

Good quality sleep improves our moods and provides creativity and cognitive function, meaning we’ll be better able to solve problems, make decisions and pay attention.

Do you open your eyes to sleep?  (You'd be surprised how many of us do so)

On the other hand, poor sleep can make it much harder to cope with your emotions.

“It turns out we lose neutrality. The brain’s ability to say what’s important is compromised,” said Dr. Talma Hendler, professor of psychiatry and neuroscience at Tel Aviv University. A 2015 study by her on sleep and emotions.
Need more proof? Studies have linked depression, anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, risk-taking, and aggression with sleep disorders in children and adults.

But don’t stuff your emotions

Emotion is essential data to let you know that you have needs that need to be met, Ackrill says.

“Refusing or cramming them doesn’t work,” she said. “Take space to deal with some of the real feelings: sadness, disappointment, disappointment, anger or guilt.

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“Allow yourself to be full of the emotions that make you human,” added Ackrill. “Don’t ‘should’ yourself. You shouldn’t feel and rewrite the story somehow because your fault doesn’t help. Whatever you’re feeling is real to you.”

One way to process your emotions is to write them down until the feelings are recorded on paper and you feel the emotions subside. You can also contact a friend or relative you trust to keep you safe ”and choose carefully. Ackrill suggests asking yourself: “Is this person really helping you deal with the emotional burden?”

Be sure to contact a therapist for help if you feel like you can’t “get rid of your emotions” or the discomfort becomes increasingly uncomfortable.

“Contrary to what our culture may have taught you, helping is not a bad four-letter word,” said Ackrill.

Practice positively

In order to keep us safe, our brain has about “five times the conduit system for negativity, so you have to really practice positivity,” said Ackrill. That means frequent subliminal thoughts are needed to reinforce those positive neural connections.

Why being an optimist is good for your heart
And here’s the good news: Twins studies show that only about 25% of our optimism is programmed by our genes. The rest is up to us and how we respond to life’s flaws (including election uncertainty).
“There is research showing that true optimism can be enhanced or nurtured through certain forms of training,” Davidson, from the Center for Healthy Minds, said in a previous interview. that of CNN. He found that it only takes 30 minutes a day to practice meditation for two weeks to make measurable changes in the brain.

“When these kinds of mental exercises are taught to people, it actually changes their brain function and structure in ways that we think support these positive qualities,” Davidson said.

Ways to develop your optimism include journaling about the positives and taking a few minutes each day to write down what makes you grateful. Several studies have shown that practicing gratitude improves positive coping skills by disrupting typical negative thinking patterns and replacing them with optimism.

Happiness will help you live longer, so learn to be happier

One of Davidson’s favorite mindfulness exercises is cultivating appreciation.

“It is simply to remember the people in our lives, the people for whom we have received some help,” Davidson said. “Remember them and appreciate the care and support or whatever these individuals have provided.”

“You can take a minute every morning and every night to do this,” he said. “And that appreciation is something that can cultivate a sense of optimism about the future.”

CNN’s Faye Chiu, Ryan Prior and Kristen Rogers contributed to this article.

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