In this week’s spotlight I would like to address stress—not the typical form of stress brought about by life circumstances, but the stress attached to this election cycle. A recent poll indicates that 51% of Americans are experiencing serious stress directly brought on by this election. Indeed, the emotions run high and not in just two directions, but also among the many who find both candidates entirely unacceptable!
In my book, Gotcha! The Subordination of Free Will, you will find a detailed account of the many ways we are psychologically massaged and manipulated. The tools are many and they are all known by the manipulators who are currently profiting as a result of billions of dollars in research to discover just how best to plumb the minds of the masses. Little tricks that have profound psychological impact are employed to build anger, hatred and even rage—and on both sides of the aisle.
It is precisely this emotional involvement that creates the distress so many are experiencing. Our politicians seem to be at their best when they pivot, project and position their opponent in some ugly light. Issues of government are of lesser concern, or so it would seem, in this election. And unfortunately, as much as we complain about all the nasty rhetoric, attacks, and name calling, the negative ads and press have been proven in studies to work. In fact, lies repeated over and over again have been shown to become truths in the minds of many despite later refutations proving the lie to unfounded and totally false. But all of this, the data, the methods, the tricks, and the entire box of psychological tools, together with how, when and where they have been employed on the public by our government can be found in my book, Gotcha! However, the point here is not about how or why the aim is to anger and otherwise incite your emotions; rather it’s about what you can do about it.
Perception and Stress
For years, research has repeatedly demonstrated that stress is a matter of perception. What stresses one person may be joyful to another. For instance, sky-diving may be fun for one person and terror to another, public speaking may be a great opportunity for one and bring a near break-down to another, and I could go on but I’m sure you get the point. It is how we perceive a stimulus that determines our stress response. As such, the trick to becoming stress free is to be found in altering our perceptions.
In about three weeks the election will be over. Between now and then I suggest you turn down the volume. Take a few moments everyday to express gratitude for all that you have including life itself. Refuse to engage in vitriolic exchanges, make your own informed decision, and vote.
Stress can lead to serious health consequences so please don’t let it just keep accumulating. Find a happy place in your mind and enjoy a little serenity everyday. Understand that sometimes it is simply time to turn matters over to a higher power and let be what will be. Life will go on when this election is over. The cortisol and other neuro-chemicals that result from distress however, may not dissipate so quickly, and they can have a lasting impact on your health and well-being.
Whenever I am asked how to stay focused and positive, I always suggest this little trick. When you first awake in the morning, put a big smile on your face. For no reason—smile! You see—the brain doesn’t distinguish between a fake smile and real one. Just using these facial muscles triggers a response in the brain that releases endorphins—those feel good chemicals. Then say, “Thank you, thank you, thank you!” This will set your day up with a positive expectation and you will find that it alone will lead to a much improved life style.
My thoughts anyway.
As always, thanks for the read and I appreciate your feedback.
NY Time Bestselling Author of Choices and Illusions
P.S. If you’d like an easy and enjoyable way to navigate without stress, try our InnerTalk Stress Free solutions–they work and they’re guaranteed to do so!