Megan Noorman Dimmer is the Marketing Director of THRIVEtoday. Megan is a single mom of three year old twins. Megan is passionate about utilizing brain science and relational skills to create authentic connections in her family, community, and in business. Practicing and teaching the skills has changed everything for how Megan understands interacting within her relationship with other people and with the divine.
The election is here and I feel the tension in my chest from the anxiety of the unknown. After today, at least 50% of us will feel big emotions about the outcome. There will be anger and grief about whatever choice is made. These feelings can make us feel disconnected and we may find ourselves resorting to enemy mode as a coping mechanism. In enemy mode, the story we created in our mind becomes more important than the people we are interacting with. This can create interactions filled with conflict and toxic shame. In enemy mode, the story we are telling in our brain becomes more important than the people we are interacting with, which can create interactions filled with conflict and toxic shame.
This is especially true for talking about politics in our culture. Politics bring swirling feelings of hopelessness and anxiety. The two-party system is built on the foundation of viewing each other as enemies. So how can we navigate the election and the impending results while staying relational?
Skill 4 – Create Appreciation, is the foundation for building a framework of positive social connections. Appreciation is related to the sense of feeling thankful or more specifically noticing the good and beautiful aspects of our life no matter the circumstances we are in. When we are able to notice our negative emotions, take a break, and point to what is good and beautiful, we can return to joy or the skill of being glad to be together.
As we go about election day I encourage you to consider these 4 thoughts:
1. Rest Creates Appreciation
When we feel like a circumstance is bigger than we can handle, our limbic system disintegrates, and we often feel more anxiety and fear. Our nervous system may tell us to move faster, do more, and think faster in order to soothe our big feelings and restore a sense of safety. When we go too fast we don’t have time to thoughtfully connect with one another and we are more apt to be in enemy mode.
When we can create an intention of slowly down, our brains have time to reintegrate, and our ability for joy increases. This can look like a walk around the block, ten minutes of quiet time focusing on your breath, or taking a longer lunch to do something that brings you joy. Rest increases our ability to see the good and beautiful in our lives and our gratitude can easily build a sense of connection to one another.
2. Appreciation is the fuel of hope
When our sense of anxiety is fueled by circumstance that at times feel too big to fix, we can resort to feeling hopeless and our nervous system shuts down to protect us. Creating space for appreciation can fuel the sense that our world will be alright. Hope motivates us to move forward and increases our ability to learn from one another. This is what we need more than ever. Creating appreciation fuels hope which builds the motivation to collaborate and learn. It is so important to remember this.
3. Appreciation allows us to see things from a different perspective
When you can hold an intentional practice for gratitude your ability to understand and empathize with different stories increase. We are then able to see one another how God would see us and extend grace towards one another while sitting in disagreement.
Whether or not you hold a belief in something bigger than yourself, creating appreciation works the same. We can change our perspective and see the good and beautiful in the person sitting across from us and not the crazy views that they hold.
Before you see something good and beautiful take a deep breath, then another. This helps calm the big feelings in our bodies and prepares our brains for more impactful appreciation. Remember to breathe today. Remember to feel your body and acknowledge the very real emotions you are experiencing. The peace that comes from the breath is so important to our nervous systems as we create new practices of appreciation and learn to integrate our limbic systems more regularly.
Skill 4 is what keeps communities and relationships connected and full of hope. This is what we need today and the days after the election. There are good and beautiful things in the world. Remember to slow down, point them out to others, enjoy them together, and move into hope-filled collaboration, which helps us all see things from a different perspective.
May you feel gratitude and hope this election day.