Cope with post-election stress | Health and Fitness | – Lincoln Journal Star

Posted: November 10, 2020 at 12:59 am

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To keep us safe, our brain has about "five times the wiring for the negative, so you have to really practice the positive," Ackrill said. That means frequent doses of uplifting thoughts are needed to strengthen those positive neural connections.

And here's the good news: Studies of twins finds only about 25% of our optimism is programmed by our genes. The rest is up to us and how we respond to life's lemons (including election uncertainty).

"There is research which indicates that optimism can actually be enhanced or nurtured through certain kinds of training," said Davidson, from the Center for Healthy Minds, in a prior CNN interview. He found it only took 30 minutes a day of meditation practice over the course of two weeks to produce a measurable change in the brain.

"When these kinds of mental exercises are taught to people, it actually changes the function and the structure of their brain in ways that we think support these kinds of positive qualities," Davidson said.

Ways to grow your optimism include keeping a journal of positives and taking a few minutes each day to write down what makes you thankful. A number of studies have shown that practicing gratefulness improves positive coping skills by breaking the typical negative-thinking style and substituting optimism.

One of Davidson's favorite mindfulness exercises cultivates appreciation.

"Simply to bring to mind people that are in our lives from whom we have received some kind of help," Davidson said. "Bring them to mind and appreciate the care and support or whatever it might be that these individuals have provided."

"You can spend one minute each morning and each evening doing this," he said. "And that kind of appreciation is something that can foster a sense of optimism about the future."

CNN's Faye Chiu, Ryan Prior and Kristen Rogers contributed to this article.

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Cope with post-election stress | Health and Fitness | - Lincoln Journal Star

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November 10th, 2020 at 12:59 am

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