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Tactics to fight anxiety and stress in the wake of a tumultuous election

Some helpful ways to find peace of mind following the transfer of power.
Published: Jan. 25, 2021 at 9:10 AM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Many may disagree on the election result, but both sides of the aisle can concur that the past several months leading up to the inauguration have been tense. As the country and the new administration move forward, many of us hope to find some mental peace and calm in the coming months in 2021.

A research scientist at the University of Wisconsin Madison’s Center for Healthy Minds, Cortland Dahl, says stress events, like the previous election and lead-up to the inauguration, can exacerbate a mantel health issues. Dahl noted that cases of anxiety and depression tripled in 2020, and turbulent events like a contentious election can just make things worse.

“In times of great stress, it’s almost as though our attention is narrowed and we start getting overly focused on the negative things,” said Dahl. “Once we notice that we can start to do things to open that up again, so one strategy is to notice when our mind gets drawn towards the negative, and we can intentionally shift it to the positive.”

A few ways to fight for some mental positivity each day: Gratitude exercises, writing in a journal or on a piece of paper things you are grateful for throughout the day, to reflect on later. Finding silver linings throughout the day and building positivity awareness make a huge impact on overall mental health, as does simply take a moment to stop and take the time to enjoy something, even if it is something simple, like a cup of coffee.

For anyone battling anxiety depression, stress or anything else impacting mental health, there are also lots of resources, around Madison. There is also the suicide prevention lifeline that is available 24 hours a day. The number for the life line is 1-800-273-8255.

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