It's hard to know what to say when there is so much chaos around us.

In the last 24 hours, I've felt shocked. Angry. Fearful.

Uncertain. In utter disbelief.

Chances are, you have, too, regardless of your political beliefs. 

Often, when we feel overwhelmed, our first instinct is to flee from or deny those feelings. Or, on the flip side, we can feel engulfed by them.

Many of us probably spent the bulk of last week glued to the TV and social media (I myself am guilty of this).

And maybe others stifled anxiety by overeating or otherwise hoping to dull their emotions.

I'm sure some people found it difficult if not impossible to sleep.

It's not easy to recenter when things feel overwhelming. But here are 10 things you can do to shift perspective and feel more grounded in the short term.

(And these are good practices to have in the longer term, as well.)

Author Traci Stein and sound engineer Bruce Gigax engage in a post-recording centering session by loving up Bruce’s adorable dog, Skippy.
  1. Honor your feelings. Name them for what they are. Your emotions are your truth of the moment. You're meant to have them. It's when we cling to emotions, judge them, or try to push them away that they threaten to overtake us.
  2. Move your body. Your body-mind is wired to use movement to calm down and recenter. You cannot remain as anxious, or angry, or fearful, or overwhelmed when you are moving. Truly.
  3. Take a break from whatever you're doing. Set a timer and make sure you honor the decision to stop and refocus.
  4. Turn off the TV and silence your social media alerts. Set a timer when you decide to engage with the news. When the timer goes off, get up. Move. Invest your energy and attention somewhere else.
  5. Pay attention to automatic coping behaviors. Be deliberate and set specific limits ahead of time with regard to self-soothing behaviors like drinking, comfort eating, TV watching, and so forth. Doing so will lead to a better outcome than having this choice be open-ended.
  6. Plan alternatives ahead of time. If a go-to self-soothing behavior typically leads to a binge, have something else you can do instead that will not create another problem for you.
  7. Write in a journal. Let it all out. Censor nothing. Don't worry about grammar or style, etc. Scribble. Draw. Crumple up that paper and throw it out if need be. But give yourself an outlet for your feelings and thoughts.
  8. Keep it simple. Simple acts can be among the most powerful. Walk. Meditate. Pray. Get out in nature.
  9. Find something for which you can be grateful — right in this very moment. The support of a loved one. A roof over your head. A way in which you've grown. Gratitude in and of itself is healing.
  10. Do something kind for someone else. Few things can restore our faith in humanity than remembering how easy it is to make someone's day a little better by being kind and helpful.

Doing these things will help you feel more centered, sleep better, and do better in general.

Wishing you peace and healing, now and always.

Traci