Worried About the Future? How to Shift the Focus to Positive

I believe in a mindful approach to life. I practice yoga. I meditate. And I try to make choices that are good for my mind, my body, and my spirit. So last Tuesday, as I found myself worrying about the election, I decided to avoid the hours (and hours) of news coverage and simply wait until morning to hear the final results. As I worked away on my computer (with the Wi-Fi off!), I could hear small tidbits of the reports from the living room where Rhoda was watching the news. The little I did catch sounded a whole lot different from what I expected, but I shut it out, went to bed at 10:00 as usual, and slept knowing that I’d cast my vote and that the final outcome was out of my hands.

On Wednesday morning, I rose quickly out of bed, and it hit me like a lightning bolt. Not the news of the election, but a severe case of an old, unwelcome visitor—vertigo was back. And it was bad. The room spun…and spun…until I was able to sit down before I fell down. Then the nausea hit me. I had tried to mentally prepare myself for the election outcome, but this physical ailment wasn’t on my list of things to deal with last week!

I am all too familiar with the terrible dizziness and queasiness of vertigo. Six years ago, a “T-bone” car accident caused floating particles in my inner ear to break loose, which is a very common cause of the vertigo condition I experienced after the wreck. But this time there was no determinable cause except for one: age. All I wanted was for the spinning to stop as soon as possible—and to stay away as long as possible! But every time I turned my head suddenly, stood up after a yoga pose, or simply got out of bed, the spinning was back in force. I dreaded every move because it seemed everything I did triggered an episode.

I’m not the only one feeling a bit traumatized after election night. My ailment was physical, but for many, the results of the election are causing people to take actions they know will only trigger another episode of upset. Just as my head is spinning, I see so many people exerting their precious energy on election results they can’t change. And the onslaught of news, emails, and social media are only feeding the flames of stress and alarm. It seems we all need a cure to get through it all, and I don’t believe focusing on the negative is the answer.

For my type of vertigo, there is a cure called the Epley maneuver. Performed by an audiologist, it’s a process that restores the floating particles in the inner ear to where they belong. Once the particles aren’t bouncing around in your ear canal and stimulating your nervous system, the sensation goes away. I was finally able to have this done yesterday, and after 20 minutes I was back on my feet again. No more balance issues. No more vertigo. As long as I sleep on my back for a few nights and don’t move my head quickly, I’m back on track. The confusion, disorientation, and dread are now history, but for the past week, getting my balance back was front and center in my life.

If the election results have you feeling off balance and worried about the future, now may be the time to find an Epley maneuver of your own. You might start by filtering out the noise from social media, the news (Why do we watch that stuff nightly before going to bed anyway?), and even the dinner table. With Thanksgiving coming up, you might start with a family rule about the table conversation—no politics or discussion on the election or the outcome. Consider replacing the politics discussion with each person around the table sharing a blessing. I am thrilled to hear Nina, my 7-year old granddaughter, share that she’s thankful for her family—especially at Thanksgiving.

For me, starting each day with yoga, meditation, and time with Rhoda helps me stay mentally and physically balanced. I wrote about my experience with yoga and the importance of focusing on controlling what you can in my blog Remember to Breathe. At the time, I was referring to investing, but I think the same guidance applies now. Shifting the focus to positive, healthy things and controlling what we can is a great way to find balance—no matter what challenges we face day to day.