I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that a few of my readers might be feeling a little stress and anxiety this morning. There's not much a blog post can do to alleviate the underlying causes of your worry, but I'm based in Europe and have been up for hours, so I have had plenty of time to research a few handy, doctor-approved strategies for managing your extreme anxiety.
1. Just switch it off.
Yes, in turbulent times, we all need to be informed. But that isn't the same thing as obsessed. Ask yourself, is yet another hour of cable news or yet another refresh of your feeds really going to offer you any new insight, or just feed your anxiety?
"Election stress becomes exacerbated by arguments, stories, images and video on social media that can heighten concern and frustration, particularly with thousands of comments that can range from factual to hostile or even inflammatory," Lynn Bufka, of the American Psychology Association, has noted.
2. Take action.
Action is the enemy of anxiety. Hope the antidote to despair. So perhaps the best tip when it comes to overcoming stress is to channel it by doing something productive. No matter how bleak the situation seems, there is always some action you can take to advance your values and improve the world. Seize it.
"Channel your concerns to make a positive difference on issues you care about. Consider volunteering in your community, advocating for an issue you support or joining a local group," the APA also recommends.
3. Switch to decaf.
Coffee is lovely, but it's not helping your anxiety, so maybe, just now, it might be a good idea to switch to decaf. "People often see coffee, tea and soft drinks simply as beverages rather than vehicles for a psychoactive drug. But caffeine can exacerbate anxiety" notes to Roland Griffiths of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
4. Specify a worry time.
If you're anything like me, doing this might be beyond your powers of self-control when you're in the midst of a truly momentous, anxiety-inducing event, but you can't stay in the worry zone forever. As the hours and days roll on, consider setting aside designated stress times to corral your anxiety rather than attempting to (fruitlessly) repress it.
"Try setting aside 20 minutes every day?let's say at 4:30 p.m.?just for your worries. If you are fretting at 10 a.m., jot down the reason and resolve to think it through later," Robert L. Leahy, director of the American Institute for Cognitive Therapy, suggests on Real Simple.
"When people get anxious, they tend to hold their breath. We teach people a special diaphragmatic breathing -- it calms your system. Do yoga, meditation, or get some exercise. Exercise is a terrific outlet for anxiety," Jerilyn Ross, director of The Ross Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders, tells WebMD.
6. Go ahead, treat yourself.
I will confess to having a large brownie for breakfast this morning. Pondering something similar? David Shen-Miller, chair of the department of counseling and health psychology at Bastyr University tells Shape it's OK to go ahead and indulge.
7. Write down your worst fears
This tip from Dr. Asim Shah, vice chair for community psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine, via the Los Angeles Times is not for the faint of heart: "If you write [your worst fears] down on a piece of paper, you can address them one by one. Fact check. Think about what is actually possible. Hopefully, this exercise will help you realize that at least some of your fears are unfounded,." The key word there is, of course, hopefully.