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!

 

Advertisement

Self-soothing activities that involve reclining

I just had a brainstorm. What do these things have in common?

  • Lying in a hammock.
  • Soaking in the bathtub.
  • Floating on a raft in a pool or natural body of water.
  • Star-gazing.
  • Watching clouds.
  • Taking a nap.
  • Getting a massage.
  • Sunbathing.
  • Doing restorative yoga poses.

All of them are done either lying down or reclining, and all of them are restful, restorative, self-soothing activities.

Lying down/reclining probably activates our neurology and chemistry to induce relaxation and create a natural high.

I spent some time this past weekend out in nature, lying on my yoga mat with my head propped enough to see and hear my teacher teach, yet able to gaze up into the gorgeous fresh green canopy overhead.

I found it so much more relaxing than sitting.

If you are really in need of shedding some stress, plan on doing some of these things!