A Dose of Mindfulness in a Stressful Political Climate

During the last 3 weeks or so, the political climate has come up in more than 50% of the conversations that I’ve had with my clients.  No matter the political leanings, the current atmosphere of unknowns and divisiveness is causing feelings ranging from anger, stress, despair, confusion, and sadness.  These feelings are particularly challenging for those who are already struggling with anxiety or depression.

After the election, I wrote a post on anxiety during uncertain times and I give tips on managing the stress with many unknowns for the future.  For the people I have been working with, I have seen a higher level of distress in the last few weeks than I saw initially after the election.  If you are feeling this, you are not alone.

Today I want to focus on using some mindfulness techniques to stay grounded during the current political climate. These techniques are not meant to encourage a “bury your head in the sand” attitude, but rather encourage ways to stay clear and focused during these difficult political times.  If we become overwhelmed and burnt out, we won’t be much help to ourselves or our communities.

Here are some ideas around a few ways to tune into the present moment:

  1. Take a mindful walk.  Notice the feeling of your feet hitting the ground.  Really soak in your environment.  Notice when your mind brings you to thoughts about yesterday or tomorrow and gently bring it to the present.  Notice the sounds around you.  Tune into the little details in your environment.
  2. Take a mindful shower.  Showers are a great sensory experience and a great way to tune into the present. Notice the temperature of the water falling on your skin. Notice the feelings of the water hitting your skin.  Notice how the shampoo feels on your hair and scalp.

  3. Eat a mindful snack.  Take slow, deliberate bites.  Notice what it feels like to chew.  Really tune into the taste as it hits your tongue.  Notice what it feels like to swallow your food.

After taking a few minutes to tune into the current moment, you’ll likely notice a new feeling of calm and clarity.