Are you one of the 320 million people who are reacting to the recent presidential election? As you gather, you are not alone. There has never been in the history of U.S. politics a more anxiety inducing pre and post election.

Millions upon millions of people are living with the symptoms of sleepless nights, chronic anxiety, fluctuating depression, anger, frustration, and fear. Over the past 2 years, rage and anger have been seen at home and at the work place. Now, we see post election bullying, fear of being deported, and protesting in the streets that we haven’t seen since the Vietnam War in the 1970's.

In addition to fear, there is frustration with the media, which has helped to flame both sides, producing high anxiety, causing a fight or flight reaction.

You are now inundated with protests and hate crimes all over the U.S., which you have little or no control over, only causing your body to react to high anxiety, anger, fear, and frustration.

Internal Treatment Methods for Post Election Anxiety and Depression.

Prayer
Meditation
Visualization
Distraction
Thinking about something else
Fidgeting
Music: Singing, dancing, drumming
Emotional Freedom Therapy (EFT)/Thought Field Therapy (TFT)
Energy Medicine
Art
Humor
Heart Rate Variability Breathing (HRV)
Hypnosis
Exercise, Yoga, Reiki, Ti Chi, and QiGong

VISUALIZATION TECHNIQUES FOR POST ELECTION ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION

If you prefer utilizing visualization, distraction, and breathing techniques, Dr. Joseph Cautella, Ph.D., developed the Cautella’s Self Control Triad. The following is a brief explanation of Cautella’s method:

You learn to stop thinking by saying, “Stop,” and then taking a deep breath in through your nose, and exhale out of your mouth. Then, you picture water over your body, and while picturing a squeegee, you visualize the squeegee removing the water, going from the top of your body down to your toes. You keep doing this until you feel calmer, and then you picture a calming relaxing scene.

ENERGY PSYCHOLOGY AND ENERGY MEDICINE FOR POST ELECTION ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION SYMPTOMS

For many people fidgeting with their clothing, hair, or other objects can be very calming. Singing, dancing, making rhythmic sounds, tapping, or drumming is also very effective.

There is a form of Energy Psychology called Emotional Freedom Therapy (EFT) and/or Thought Field Therapy (TFT), which encourages you to tap specific acupressure points in a specific pattern to alleviate anxiety.

There is also Energy Medicine, which heals the body by activating and/or restoring its natural healing energies if they have become weak, disturbed, or out of balance. Energy medicine uses techniques from healing methods such as Acupuncture, yoga, kinesiology, and Qi Gong. These different approaches work well against the symptoms of PCS and PTSD.

Creating art is an internal method that allows the overactive Limbic system to feel calm. This is also true of using humor as a method. On the other hand, Heart Rate Breathing does require some external devices to give you the proper feedback. One of the best is through HeartMath, Emwave.

There is also Hypnosis, which is the natural ability to disassociate from the current situation.

Exercise, whether it is active sports, or recreational activity such as yoga, Ti Chi, Reiki, and/or QiGong, is great at producing a calming effect to the brain without any external methods.

External Treatment Methods for POST ELECTION ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION

Nutrition
Medication
Hot Bath or Hot Tub
Talk Therapy/Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
Brain Spotting
Acupuncture
Cranial Sacral Therapy
Homeopathic, including Bach Flower Essence
Herbal Remedies
Biofeedback
Cranial Electro Stimulation (CES)
Neurofeedback
Aroma Therapy
Light Therapy
Sound Therapy
Massage, such as Reflexology or Feldenkrais Method
Energy Work: Reiki, Polarity, Quantum Touch
Night out: movie, theater, etc.
Vacation

NUTRITION FOR POST ELECTION ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION

What you eat truly does affect how you feel. If you eat lots of sugar you will not feel calm, and feelings of anxiety will heighten. Alcohol and some recreational drugs will perpetuate anxiety. If you have any form of brain injury, please avoid sugar, alcohol, and recreational drugs. 

MEDICATION FOR POST ELECTION ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION

Before using any medication, whether it is prescribed or over the counter, please consider the side effects of medication and how it may affect you due to your sensitivity to it. Before taking any medication, discuss your medical history with your PCP or licensed provider. This also goes for Homeopathic, herbal remedies, and Aromatherapies.

OTHER EXTERNAL METHODS FOR ALLEVIATING ANXIETY

What you think can cause your body and brain to react. Understanding how you think and how to change your thinking can be effectively done through talk therapy. Another form of talk therapy, specifically designed to deal with anxiety, is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). This form of talk therapy includes an integrative eight-phase approach to disconnecting the emotional and physical reaction to a traumatic event from the thought of the event. This method of identifying the physical and emotional triggers that heighten PCS symptoms provides tools to work through and sever this connection.

Sound therapy includes using scientific programs such as Hemi-Sync, Bilateral Sounds, the Tomatis Method, and Swingle Sounds to help to soothe the Limbic system. Light therapy uses lasers from infrared to visual wave patterns, to sitting under various color lights that help produce a calming effect to the brain.

BIOFEEDBACK AND NEUROFEEDBACK FOR POST ELECTION ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION

Biofeedback, which includes thermal, muscular, and EEG (Neurofeedback), is akin to looking in a mirror that reflects your inner responses rather than your outer appearance. Ordinarily, you cannot influence your brain wave activity because you have no information about it. However, when you can see instantaneous information about your brain function on a computer screen, you have the ability to positively influence that function.

One form of Biofeedback speaks to the body through electrical impulse signals that are modified based on changes detected at the skin’s surface, such as reddening or numbness. Signals are sent to the body through the skin based on changes within the body, and are then reflected back to the surface of the skin. This causes the body to move toward a more normative state. Self-controlled Energy Neuro Adaptive Regulation (SCENAR) employs signals that are modified depending on what happened in the past—a backward-looking technology that is viewed as reorganizing. The newer Cosmodic technology of adaptive regulation looks ahead to the body’s target state of response, so it is more regenerative in nature.

Another electrical Biofeedback method is Cranial Electro Stimulation (CES), which is effective in treating anxiety, insomnia, and depression. It is also effective for chronic pain.

Neurofeedback has many subdivisions, and all of the various types are specifically designed to alleviate anxiety. The number of external sessions of treatment vary depending on the specific cause. Neurofeedback is one of the external methods that not only addresses the symptom of anxiety, but also addresses the cause.

The use of Neurofeedback with talk therapy, in conjunction with many of the other internal and external modalities presented, can also help to alleviate anxiety. 

Dr. Diane Roberts Stoler, Ed.D. (c) December 2016

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