Are you just about at capacity?
Oh my gosh. Me. TOO.
Facebook has been a veritable war zone of think pieces, pleas, slams, and some downright angry rants. I have been feeling a mild, mounting anxiety - though it took me a long time to figure out why. Even though I've tried to shield myself from "candidate talk" (very different from "How awesome is it to vote?? SO awesome," talk, because voting is so awesome), I've still found myself reading post after post. And e-mail after e-mail. (HRC, I love ya, girl, but the 75 e-mails a day from your campaign are A LOT.)
It's like watching a trainwreck.
Realizing that the pressure in my chest is coming from this election really gave me pause. Something amorphous, intangible, had created an actual physical symptom. How crazy is that??
So I gotta figure, it works the other way around.
I want to be clear: I care about the election. I've had innumerable discussions about the candidates, relentlessly encouraged everyone I work with to vote, done my research, donated to a campaign, and voted. But for the past few days, I've been working on reversing the process.
Instead of allowing myself to listen to, read, or watch anything election-related (hell, I already voted and donated to a campaign - I consider my civic duty done until the votes are tallied), I've been turning that attention toward the world around me.
Disciplining your thoughts is a powerful and challenging thing. I certainly haven't mastered it. But here's what I've been trying:
- Not speaking negatively about anything or anyone - at all. This doesn't mean being fake, it just means choosing to only acknowledge the positive.
- Being intentionally patient with everyone - cashiers, traffic, even Jordan.
- Noticing tiny things throughout my day that are beautiful/wonderful/unique that I take for granted otherwise.
Even just those three things have changed my mood and attitude. I've noticed:
- The impulses to make negative comments or criticize things or people has significantly lessened.
- My blood pressure is just feels lower. So what if I'm stuck in traffic?? Who cares? What impact does that have on me? It doesn't. And it has felt good to let that go.
- Being so much more observant and grateful. Today, I noticed light streaming through the trees and onto the freshly fallen leaves and found myself laughing out loud at how beautiful it was. I like to think I'm a "stop and smell the roses" person generally, but this extra emphasis on noticing the wonder of the world has made a huge difference.
This election is important. There's no doubt about that. And by no means am I implying that the election is inconsequential or that caring about its outcome is a waste of time.
What I do mean to say is that this election has gotten crazy as hell and I need a time out. And, for me at least, taking the time to disconnect makes my actual connection more meaningful. Stepping away from the coverage and re-charging has made me excited to re-engage on election night.
So. Take a deep breath if you need to. Put down your phone. Turn off the TV. Look around. What's one thing you love so much it sends you into a giggle or grin?
Let's give it some thought.