Jittery about the election? Here are some simple things you can do to reduce stress

I recently completed a 4-hour continuing education class in Ethics, Communication, and Boundaries through the Lens of the Nervous System. The instructor based this course around applying polyvagal theory in a massage therapy practice.

I want to share some simple things that anyone can use to reduce stress, because many of us may be feeling jumpy and tense, especially with an election approaching. 

Experiment with these and find your favorites — and use them as needed when your stress response is activated! 

  • Making your exhalations longer than your inhalations for a couple of minutes.
  • Singing and humming. 
  • Orienting to the space you’re in by slowly gazing all around you. 
  • Lifting your gaze and imagining the sun shining on your face, neck, and shoulders. 
  • Finding something that’s pleasing and telling yourself “I am safe and happy”. 
  • Making micro movements, dancing, doing yoga. 
  • Listening to calming music. 

Do you find yourself doing any of these without a thought? My mother often hummed when she was washing dishes.

Music and dancing are important parts of my life. I created a playlist of happy music with the help of numerous friends on Facebook who made recommendations. I’m capping it at 100 songs and will post a link to it on Apple Music when I’ve finished listening to everything…a lot of it was new to me.

I have noticed already that some of the happiest-making songs are about dancing!



The presuppositions of Byron Katie

My NLP practitioner training included the presuppositions of NLP. They are the central principles and ethics underlying the body of work that is NLP. I’ve found them to be very handy guidelines in life.

NLP training does not require anyone to believe them.

Rather, it invites you to try them on as if they are true and discover what happens. If you like the results, you continue to act as if they are true.

For instance, the first six presuppositions as Tom Best taught them are:

  1. People are like mapmakers.
  2. People’s maps are made of pictures, sounds, feelings, tastes, and smells.
  3. The map is not the territory.
  4. People respond primarily to their maps of reality, not to reality.
  5. If you change your map, you’ll change the way you think, feel, and act.
  6. Many of our maps are out of our conscious awareness.

I just attended a workshop with Byron Katie this past weekend, perhaps my fourth or fifth. I thought it might be useful to look at The Work and figure out what its presuppositions are.

This, of course, is a work in progress that I will be revising as I get more clarity, and I invite anyone to add to the list and to clarify anything that isn’t clear. Just post your thoughts in the comments. I am re-reading Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life, and I will be clarifying these presuppositions as I progress.

  • Thoughts flow through the mind because that’s a function of the mind.
  • My thoughts produce my reality.
  • When my mind is silent, it experiences pure awareness.
  • My true nature is pure love.
  • Knowing what is true and real is important.
  • Only I cause my suffering.
  • Suffering is optional.
  • Just because I think a thought doesn’t mean it’s true.
  • When I believe a thought is true, I feel and behave in certain ways.
  • What I believe is what hurts me.
  • Questioning my beliefs is a way to relieve my suffering.
  • I can know whether a thought is really true.
  • I can notice what happens when I believe a thought.
  • When I drop a thought that causes me suffering, I can change my experience of who I am.
  • There are three kinds of business in the universe: mine, yours, and God’s.
  • Suffering comes from living outside of my own business.
  • God’s business includes anything that’s out of my control, your control, and every else’s control.
  • Other people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are their business.
  • My thoughts, beliefs, feelings, and actions are my business.
  • When I pay attention to my business,  my life runs perfectly well on its own.
  • Everyone including me is innocent.
  • Everything that happens is for my own awakening, enlightenment, and joy.