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.

The Trouble with Promises

Have you ever made a promise you didn’t want to keep? This happened to me recently.

I received an unexpected call from a radio show in Charleston, South Carolina. The caller asked me if I was ready to be interviewed.

No, I was not. Although I usually note pending interviews (and any other appointments) in my calendar, I hadn’t made a note of this date two months ago, when the initial arrangements were made. To add to the confusion, I also hadn’t received the two reminders the station had sent me.

I felt totally unprepared and very apprehensive about risking that an unknown number of people would hear me acting like an idiot. This, not incidentally, forms the foundation of many of my fears about marketing work, and it was easy for me to figure out how I “forgot” this appointment.

Since I had about a thirty-second window of opportunity to make a decision, the above thoughts flashed very quickly through my mind. Others joined them. First, and most important, I’d promised the interview, and I consider a promise a responsibility. In line with that commitment, I thought about the announcer, who would be faced with a gap in his programming and about listeners, who might be looking forward to the interview.

In the interests of full disclosure, I confess that the promise, as a matter of integrity, decided me. You’ve probably been in similar situations where keeping your word trumped all other considerations. In such situations I’ve discovered that I can either A. Endure a situation and remind myself that I’m a good person
B. Suffer through it with accompanying resentment
C. Turn it around and have my promise lead me into finding possibility in my circumstances

C., of course, sounds very attractive, but it also sometimes seems unattainable. I can’t remember how many times I’ve unknowingly chosen B., making the fulfillment of a promise I already didn’t want to keep much worse by reminding myself how much I didn’t want to do it.

I find two lessons in this.

The first is to make promises wisely. If I have a negative feeling about it, I’d do better not to make it. Maybe a good person keeps her promises, but she doesn’t have to agree to every request.

A classic example is one of fidelity between partners or spouses. Do not make this promise with your fingers crossed. Don’t agree because you think it’s the right thing to do. Don’t make it with the anticipation that you’ll break it. Don’t even make it in a spirit of resentment, i.e., “This is what I have to do to have the relationship I want, but I don’t like it.”

The most important promise you can ever make is to be true to yourself, to honor and listen to your feelings, to thoughtfully consider any reluctance, and to come to a decision that sits comfortably with you.

I promised to take on the radio interview because to be true to myself as an author in these times, I need not only to write but also to take every opportunity I can get to move through my resistance to self-promotion. That’s a commitment I have to myself.

Having decided to keep this commitment, I also decided to find a way to make its fulfillment enjoyable. I reasoned that the topic, questions based on my book, Animals Have Feelings, Too, was one I knew quite well. If even one human companion got an insight into ways to resolve an issue with a cat or dog, my time would be well spent. Finally, I told my reluctant self that I might have fun.

My commitment paid off. Bob Charles, who interviewed me, was friendly, knowledgeable about my book, and passionate about animals. He asked useful questions. Listeners from around the world asked more. I spent an entertaining hour talking about cats, dogs, and Bach Flower Remedies.

Bob described me as one of the nicest people on the planet. I’m sure there’s a very long line ahead of me, but I didn’t mind hearing it. I have been invited to return to the show.

Overall, it was a huge win, mainly because I kept my promise, not just to Bob but also to myself.

And the life lesson was priceless.

If you’d like to hear the interview, the link is below. As I noted above, it’s about an hour long.

Interview on the Bob Charles Show