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3 Tips to Carry You Through the Week After The Election

3 Tips to Carry You Through the Week After The Election

So the election is over and you woke up the morning of November 9th possibly experiencing a wide range of emotions. Most of us understood that this election represented more than just two sides. There were hundreds of combinations of reasons, beliefs and motivations that contributed to millions of individual selections and yet the morning after, millions of people have suddenly been shoved into two categories – one side against another. Is this fair? That is your call. So what do you do now?

Be Mindful

  • Awareness and gratitude. Try not to spend so much time focusing on things you have no power to change. Imagine a life where instead of focusing on those things, you switched your attention and directed all of your energy to the things that were in your control. Try it. Then top it off with a heavy serving of awareness and gratitude. Be aware of all that you have and don’t have. Be grateful for the challenges and opportunities you are fortunate enough to have experienced, are presently experiencing and the ones that you have yet to experience. It is those things that have helped you move past where you were, helped you get to where you are and that will get you to where you need to be.
  • Reality. Learn to take things for what they are and temper your expectations. Doing so limits disappointments. Reality is what you can control and influence. Everything else is out of your hands. Recognizing life is already hard enough to handle, try not to give yourself more than you can reasonably (and unreasonably) control. Outcomes and results don’t determine peace (or your efforts to create it), happiness and the ability to have and spread joy. Don’t get lost in the shuffle; stay focused.
  • Leisure. Dedicate yourself to working vigorously and purposefully on your self-development instead of allowing the media and other distractions in your life to consume you. How you spend your downtime says a lot about you. The key here is to always be growing in some way whether it be personally through reading and learning, growing by giving to and developing others, or any mixture of similar acts. If your thoughts and actions are pure and with good intention, your downtime will likely reflect that.

Surround yourself with great people. Being around great people, listening and learning from them will have positive effects on your life. Receiving advice and counsel are also other benefits. Just being around great people can penetrate your being if you pay close attention to things like what they put their effort in to, what they avoid and their mannerisms.

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It’s also a good idea to surround yourself with great books. Reading is fundamental to the process of self-development and mindfulness. It facilitates the exchange of thoughts and understanding. It also allows you to learn from others in a way that allows you to prepare for things that may happen in your life or gain a different perception or interpretation of things that may have occurred in your life.

We’ve had elections before… many of them in fact. What are some of the lessons you could have learned or have observed through history that could have prepared you for what you are feeling today?

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“Truly to enjoy bodily warmth, some small part of you must be cold, for there is no quality in this world that is not what it is merely by contrast. Nothing exists in itself. If you flatter yourself that you are all over comfortable, and have been so a long time, then you cannot be said to be comfortable anymore.” – Herman Melville

Be open to what arises moment after moment and accept that life is constant change. Realize this: change is good and a part of everything, for nothing remains the same. Every day of your life is change, every period of your life is change, we are and always will be in a state of change as will everything around us. So, embrace change, for it is natural and there is no true benefit in anything remaining the same.

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3 Tips to Carry You Through the Week

Pause – Breathe – Listen

When you feel yourself needing to release some potentially regrettable words, opinions, or aggression…PAUSE! Take a few long seconds before doing anything or addressing anyone. Notice where you need help or where others need help. If you have to communicate that you need some space, then do so. But before you do anything, clear your mind and BREATHE!  Agree or disagree. Whatever side of things you find yourself on in the next hours, day, weeks, and months; respect people’s rights to have an opinion. Not everything needs a response, consider others’ perspectives as deep as you can and just LISTEN!

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More by this author

Tyrone Robinson

Life, Career, Executive Coach & Business Consultant

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Last Updated on September 10, 2018

Overcoming The Pain Of A Breakup: 3 Suggestions Based On Science

Overcoming The Pain Of A Breakup: 3 Suggestions Based On Science

We thought that the expression ‘broken heart’ was just a metaphor, but science is telling us that it is not: breakups and rejections do cause physical pain. When a group of psychologists asked research participants to look at images of their ex-partners who broke up with them, researchers found that the same brain areas that are activated by physical pain are also activated by looking at images of ex-partners. Looking at images of our ex is a painful experience, literally.[1].

Given that the effect of rejections and breakups is the same as the effect of physical pain, scientists have speculated on whether the practices that reduce physical pain could be used to reduce the emotional pain that follows from breakups and rejections. In a study on whether painkillers reduce the emotional pain caused by a breakup, researchers found that painkillers did help. Individuals who took painkillers were better able to deal with their breakup. Tamar Cohen wrote that “A simple dose of paracetamol could help ease the pain of a broken heart.”[2]

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Just like painkillers can be used to ease the pain of a broken heart, other practices that ease physical pain can also be used to ease the pain of rejections and breakups. Three of these scientifically validated practices are presented in this article.

Looking at images of loved ones

While images of ex-partners stimulate the pain neuro-circuitry in our brain, images of loved ones activate a different circuitry. Looking at images of people who care about us increases the release of oxytocin in our body. Oxytocin, or the “cuddle hormone,” is the hormone that our body relies on to induce in us a soothing feeling of tranquility, even when we are under high stress and pain.

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In fact, oxytocin was found to have a crucial role as a mother is giving birth to her baby. Despite the extreme pain that a mother has to endure during delivery, the high level of oxytocin secreted by her body transforms pain into pleasure. Mariem Melainine notes that, “Oxytocin levels are usually at their peak during delivery, which promotes a sense of euphoria in the mother and helps her develop a stronger bond with her baby.”[3]

Whenever you feel tempted to look at images of your ex-partner, log into your Facebook page and start browsing images of your loved ones. As Eva Ritvo, M.D. notes, “Facebook fools our brain into believing that loved ones surround us, which historically was essential to our survival. The human brain, because it evolved thousands of years before photography, fails on many levels to recognize the difference between pictures and people”[4]

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Exercise

Endorphins are neurotransmitters that reduce our perception of pain. When our body is high on endorphins, painful sensations are kept outside of conscious awareness. It was found that exercise causes endorphins to be secreted in the brain and as a result produce a feeling of power, as psychologist Alex Korb noted in his book: “Exercise causes your brain to release endorphins, neurotransmitters that act on your neurons like opiates (such as morphine or Vicodin) by sending a neural signal to reduce pain and provide anxiety relief.”[5] By inhibiting pain from being transmitted to our brain, exercise acts as a powerful antidote to the pain caused by rejections and breakups.

Meditation

Jon Kabat Zinn, a doctor who pioneered the use of mindfulness meditation therapy for patients with chronic pain, has argued that it is not pain itself that is harmful to our mental health, rather, it is the way we react to pain. When we react to pain with irritation, frustration, and self-pity, more pain is generated, and we enter a never ending spiral of painful thoughts and sensations.

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In order to disrupt the domino effect caused by reacting to pain with pain, Kabat Zinn and other proponents of mindfulness meditation therapy have suggested reacting to pain through nonjudgmental contemplation and acceptance. By practicing meditation on a daily basis and getting used to the habit of paying attention to the sensations generated by our body (including the painful ones and by observing these sensations nonjudgmentally and with compassion) our brain develops the habit of reacting to pain with grace and patience.

When you find yourself thinking about a recent breakup or a recent rejection, close your eyes and pay attention to the sensations produced by your body. Take deep breaths and as you are feeling the sensations produced by your body, distance yourself from them, and observe them without judgment and with compassion. If your brain starts wandering and gets distracted, gently bring back your compassionate nonjudgmental attention to your body. Try to do this exercise for one minute and gradually increase its duration.

With consistent practice, nonjudgmental acceptance will become our default reaction to breakups, rejections, and other disappointments that we experience in life. Every rejection and every breakup teaches us great lessons about relationships and about ourselves.

Featured photo credit: condesign via pixabay.com

Reference

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