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Approaching politics: calm your mind, then take on the world

by Headspace

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Recent and relentless shifts in politics have created uncertainty and instability for people around the world, regardless of whether we oppose or welcome the changes in power or policy.  

Citizens of every nation experience a full range of emotions over divisive issues; families and friends who hold differing opinions also face challenging conversations, especially where people’s rights and livelihoods may be affected by proposed bills, manifestos, and even authoritarian regimes. On top of all that, we must also navigate our personal relationship with the constant drumbeat of news and social media feeds, and still somehow find a way to feel like ourselves.

57% of Americans said the political climate in 2017 was a significant source of stress. During such times, and as we focus on global events, it can benefit us to look inward: to seek stillness and clarity. At first, that might sound impossible when the discourse is so rabid, and especially when we see political views escalate into violence. But meditation allows us to manage fears and feelings, and allows us to more effectively engage with the world around us — including politics. We can channel our anger or sense of injustice without being burned up by it. We can find room for understanding without climbing down. We can learn to be less reactive and more responsive in our commitment to stand up for what we believe in.

With all this in mind, we’ve selected some meditations to help support you, wherever you are in the world, whatever the political climate, whatever your beliefs.

Approaching Politics: the Headspace way

Based on letters and emails from Headspace members around the world, we’ve grouped the following guided meditations according to common situations that politics bring up.  None of the exercises are explicitly political, but they are intended to help you breathe, de-stress, and reset. By calming the mind first, we’re then in a good place to play our part in the pressing issues of these times.

Letting go of tension

Political situations might leave you feeling angry, or devastated, or scared. If your emotions are overwhelming, try one of these 3-minute, stress-reducing, in-the-moment SOS meditations:

Difficult conversations

Difficult conversations with loved ones, friends, or strangers may arise—in person or on social media—so consider these meditations as a potential salve for before or after any particularly tricky chat:

Shifting perspective

Reframing our approach to politics can be helpful. These 10-day meditation courses are not intended to change your opinions but to help you relate differently to the feelings of stress:

We understand how important it is to stand up for your rights and the rights of others and to fight for what matters. By taking a few minutes to step back and meditate, you are making a difference to your mind. By making a difference to your mind, you are better equipped to make a difference out in the world.

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