“Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in.” — Unknown
Being a witness to the opening of a hospice home at the same time of election completely helped me through the roller coaster. It reminded me of the bigger picture: people are dying, and we can help them to be more comfortable, even if that's on a volunteer basis, as people have been doing for ages. There will always be a need and a variety of options to help people. It's also empowering to have the ability to contribute when all that's happening can be so disempowering.
Cultivate a gratitude practice
A Gratitude Practice is proven to contribute to greater happiness. I'd say a nonnegotiable 5 item list of things you're grateful for before bed. It makes us hyper aware of all things that are easy to forget we have: basic physical abilities, family, food, the freedoms we do have, etc. I do this every night before bed and when I get in a bad mood. I know no other technique for turning my mood around so quickly.
Take action as you can
There have been so many horrific things happening that the issues can be completely overwhelming. Sometimes I will wallow, maybe there's a place for that, it feels like grieving. From a proficiency perspective though, I find that focusing on the causes we’re most passionate about to be most effective. For me, that's on Healthcare research, because I get treatment for a rare condition at the National Institutes of Health, where billions of dollars are proposed to be cut. That is life or death for those with rare diseases that don't have the option of being treated anywhere else in the world, while halting research efforts for cures. I think we have the biggest impact to address those areas that we are either most passionate about or affect us on the most personal level. Personal stories and passion have power.
Release endorphins. Especially dance.
Try not to let politics dominate all of your conversations and relationships
I hate when I get into heated discussions or even arguments with people I love about this, it feels like he's winning all over again. Even if you agree with another person on your political view, it is important to have boundaries when it comes to going into these discussions. It's also important to have boundaries in your own mind. It reminds me of something Eckhart Tolle teaches , when cultivating being present, it's okay to take time to plan for the future, (i.e. Spend time planning and taking action, for benefits and protests) but not letting thoughts about the future and past dominate your mind. This is hard one, but I do think we need to manage this order to be effective.
When all else fails, watch comedy
I went from crying to laughing today from watching Stephen Colbert this morning, turning my mood around enough to write this article.
Does anyone have helpful techniques to add? If so, leave a comment <3