Post-Election Stress Relief

So many people are stressed out, frightened, and angry. Brain biology teaches us that when the primitive brain, which controls the fight-flight-freeze reaction, is activated, it draws blood from the frontal lobes, which control the ability to think and act with the gifts of intuition, reason, and logic.

With that in mind, I’m offering a list of things you can do right now to reduce stress in your life.

1. Breathe. Stress and anxiety can lead to shallow breathing, which in turn increases these feelings. We need oxygen, and we need to relax the solar plexus muscles. When you feel yourself getting stressed and anxious, stop and take several long, deep breaths.

2. Drink water. This goes along with breathing. Fear and anxiety can create toxic emotions that turn into physical toxins.

3. Take flower essences. Dr. Edward Bach began his work following the horror of World War I and the influenza epidemic. As a world-wide economic depression deepened and fascism began to rise in Europe, he developed the Bach Flower Remedies, which helped countless people restore emotional balance.

They are as helpful today as they were then. I will provide a future post about this and for today will list a few that can help immediately.

Rescue Remedy is one of the world’s most popular Remedies. Combining 5 Bach Flower Remedies, it can help with shock, trauma, terror, numbness, and other emotions.

Sweet Chestnut is valuable for despair. Mustard helps with gloom. Star of Bethlehem helps with shock and trauma.

4. Tap. If you aren’t familiar with EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) or other forms of tapping, this is a great time to learn. EFT Down Under is one of my favorite sites for learning.

5. Be cautious about social media. I see lots of inspiring posts on Facebook, for example, but there’s a lot of negativity, too. I’m not condemning the people who post negative articles, but I’m avoiding the self-destructive urge to click on those links.

6. Reach out to friends. For many of us, this is a time to connect to others for mutual support.

7. Be active. If you belong to groups working for social justice, increase your participation.

8. Practice mindfulness. This may mean meditation, yoga, chi kung, or any discipline that returns your focus to the Now.

9. Cherish the present moment. Mindfulness also means remembering that what we create in the present becomes our future. And fear of the future poisons the present moment.

10. Don’t hate. It’s so easy to do at present. I’m reminding myself that it takes two sides to make a divided country (or world). I may vigorously disagree with people, but to deny their humanity diminishes my own.

Finally, I’m sharing links to two poems that are guiding me through the present moment.

This links to St. Francis’s poem that begins, “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.”

The second is Thich Nhat Hanh’s “Please Call Me by my True Names.” This is a beautiful plea for compassion.

Holly: The Bach Flower Remedy for Love

Unconditional love, the positive energy expressed by the Holly Bach Remedy, is the most natural emotion. Your animal companions know that; they express forgiveness and forgetting with every breath of their beings. Humans, however, find this more difficult. Part of our problem is that we learn early on that no one will forgive our anger.

As children, we are punished for the spontaneous expression of anger (did you ever tell your parents that you hated them?). Schools reinforce the lesson, and by the time we’re adults, we’re convinced that anger has the danger potential of volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, and other natural disasters.

If anger is violent, destructive, and self-destructive, it’s usually because we’ve held it in for too long. That’s why it’s important to express.

When someone’s spent a long time being depressed, feeling and expressing anger is a giant step on the road of recovery. When we’re angry, energy is moving, and sometimes this emotion washes away blockages and resistance and leads to healing.

I believe in accepting anger, learning to handle it, and allowing it.


Pretend you have a friend, Sam, who continually talks about himself and never wants to hear about your life. You’ve known him a long time, and you think that tuning him out can preserve your friendship (and, despite this issue, you do have one). Sometimes an evening with him leaves you angry, and you may wait a while before seeing him again.

Your anger accumulates, and you tell other friends that you can hardly bear to be around Sam. Finally, after a day when everything went wrong, you have dinner with him. He begins to tell you what a terrible day he had, and you explode. You never speak to him after that, but who needs that kind of friendship?

If you’d acknowledged the anger sooner and decided to address it, could have handled the situation in a way that was less hurtful both to you and to Sam.


From the time we told our parents we hated them (or didn’t tell them but thought it), most of us have used anger to shield ourselves from our disappointment, hurt, and vulnerability.

The spirit guide, Seth (channeled by the late Jane Roberts) said that anger can bring us back to love. Have you ever had a fight with someone you loved that resulted in a tearful reconciliation and the feeling that you loved this person more than ever? Your decision not to hold onto your anger was a statement that you wanted reconciliation.

To make sure that the person doesn’t hear the anger, you need to speak the love—and strongly.


I can best deal with my anger when I realize that my main problem isn’t how others treat me but how I treat myself. When I’m cut off from the source of love, which is myself, it’s easy to find evidence in the external world that others love me imperfectly.

I also take Holly. All of us can benefit from its healing energies. In its positive state, Holly represents being in harmony with oneself and others, taking joy in the happiness of others, and being an expression of unconditional love.

Dr. Bach said: “Holly protects us from everything that is not Universal Love. Holly opens the heart and unites us with Divine Love.”

Many people bring the holly plant indoors during the Christmas season to symbolize Christ’s rebirth. We need not be Christian to honor the Holly flower as a means for resurrecting in each of us the spirit of love and divine communion, which is our birthright.

This blog post is excerpted from Bach Flower Remedies: A User-friendly Guide. You can click on the cover to the left for more information. It’s available at Amazon.

How to Crush Your Creativity: Anger

Anger is somewhat different from other emotions categorized as negative because sometimes the biggest problem we have with it is that we don’t want to feel it. Many people have been raised to believe that anger is destructive, uncivilized, and overall, not very nice.

Attitudes are quite different in the world of animals. I have seen tiny kittens hiss and shriek with all their might when a big dog approaches them. Sometimes it’s not the biggest but the loudest that wins or prevents a battle.

When we hold anger inside ourselves, we become candidates for high blood pressure, ulcers, and a number of other conditions. Anger, when used constructively, can relieve stress. When repressed, it creates stress.

Unexpressed anger also has a strong tendency to turn into the sour bile of resentment. (See previous post, no, not the cat. I understand he has no trouble expressing anger. It’s the one before that.)

Give yourself an outlet for expressing your anger. For years I’ve recommended to my clients that they write down everything they’d like to say to someone with whom they’re angry. Don’t hold back. Say every terrible, vicious, and vindictive thing that you’re feeling.

If you happen to be living with that person, put the file somewhere that it won’t be found. Why not delete it? I would highly recommend and even urge that you do this eventually. However, I often find it helpful to cool down and read the letter a while after I’ve written it.

Once the heat has been dissipated, you may discover that some of the things you wrote range from ridiculous to hilarious. You may wonder why you were so upset about some of the subjects you covered.

These realizations help to train your awareness. The next time you feel anger coming on, you may have the mental acuteness to ask yourself if this is really such a big deal. That needn’t stop you from writing about it. However, you might melt a few less keys as you do so.

Let me reemphasize: The release of anger is healthy, but the degree of healthiness depends on how it’s released.

Oh, and don’t forget to delete that document.