VOTE For Your Well-Being

Elect to Be Happy, No Matter What. Here's How!


November 2020 Issue
Energy Express by Marilynn Preston

In the run-up to the election—I’m writing this before the results are in—my yoga teacher had us doing a lot of grounding poses. And I mean a lot. No wonder my hamstrings were climbing the walls last night. (Thank God for CBD cream.)

First, Sienna asks us to stand and connect to our breath. Then we focus our mind’s eye on our legs: standing tall, rooting deep, energetically drawing strength from the earth beneath our feet, wiggling our toes, arching our soles and opening channels in our legs, our hips, our hearts and our minds to help us through whatever happens next.

Does the practice melt my anxiety? Promote equanimity? Encourage optimism? Of course it does, because feeling grounded and calm in trying times is one of the ways we nurture our well-being. It’s not a fix; it’s a strategy. What’s yours?

 Self-care isn’t just something you read about on Goop. It’s something you actually decide to do and need to do, tuning into your body and giving it what it needs, before it breaks down, burns out and polishes off an entire pint of Cherry Garcia.

So here are some strategies for keeping your well-being a priority as we learn the results of the 2020 election. Win or lose, ecstatic or enraged, you should know that the idea behind self-care is to bring yourself back into balance, because from that place you can think more clearly and contemplate all next steps:

PUSH THE POSITIVE. Prolonged fear drains our energy and eats away at our courage and well-being. Don’t fall for it. When the mind attaches to the negative—and it will, because we’re hard-wired to do that—consciously shift to an activity that sparks joy. It’s as simple as that. Take a walk. Read a funny book. Return to a beloved movie. Tell yourself that everything happens for a reason. And isn’t it great how many more women are involved in politics?

When you manage your reactions according to principles established in the last 20 years of Happiness Psychology, you’re not giving up or giving in. You’re mustering your strength to fight the good fight going forward—wary, resilient, connected to a community that supports your values. In All Is Well: The Art {and Science} of Personal Well-Being, I write about practicing Unconditional Happiness, no matter what. It’s not easy, but ever-so-useful.

ENGAGE WITH NATURE. This works like a charm. There is research to explain how Nature meets us where we are—emotionally, biochemically—and helps bring us back into balance. Plan a post-election hike. Sit by a river. Hug a tree. The science behind “forest bathing,” as the Japanese call it, is solid and serene. Time spent in nature helps reset our mood, turning us from what is temporary to what is timeless. It’s not going to right a wrong, but it makes us feel good in the moment—until, moment by moment, we come back to our senses and realize what a gift it is to be alive.

TURN TO YOUR BREATH. It’s good to have a few go-to breathing patterns to inspire a felt state of calm. In Sienna’s class, we were on our backs, breathing in to a count of six, breathing out to a count of six and then eight and then adding a hold of four counts between each in-and-out breath.

Even simpler, you can breathe in through your mouth, close one nostril with your finger, and breathe out through the open nostril. Alternate nostrils, and see if you can pause after the exhale, contracting your lower belly.

Breathing this way can help us accept what is, giving us the strength and resolve to stay engaged and focus on all next steps.

AND MORE. I’m nearly out of space, but not strategies. Exercise! You knew that was coming, right? And don’t forget the comfort and joy that come from eating real and delicious food—not too much, mostly plants. Getting eight hours of sleep a night works extremely well when you’re seeking a balanced state, and so does human contact, sitting down and talking to friends and family, escaping the drama and putting life into perspective.

I know you’ve heard it all before, but before, we weren’t as worried. Now we are. So what’s your strategy?

Marilynn Preston is the author of Energy Express, America’s longest-running healthy lifestyle column. Her book All Is Well: The Art {and Science} of Personal Well-Being is available now on Amazon and elsewhere. ©2020 ENERGY EXPRESS LTD.

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