CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Two days before Election Day, are you wondering which things will change in your life - regardless of the outcome?
While the "what if" scenarios can be entertaining - as well as stressful - do you ever stop to contemplate the things that are constant in your life?
This hit home with me last weekend when my husband, John, and I visited his family in Ocean Isle, N.C. We have a tradition of walking on the beach with our dog, Chloe, to the pier on the ocean. As soon as our eyes meet the horizon, and we see the ocean waves breaking on the shore, one of us will say "even while we were sleeping." This underscores the consistency of the waves. They keep rolling in, no matter what.
Which brings to mind the things that are constant in our lives. With the uncertain times we live in, this becomes more and more a source of comfort. While you're pondering the uncertainty in your life, it helps to put things into perspective by looking at all of the things that are certain.
What can you count on? Who is there for you - day in and day out? Are you taking any of this for granted? It's only human nature to tend to focus on what's missing rather than what's there. We're hardwired to respond more to threats than pleasures - goes back to that old fight-or-flight response.
To keep this in the political context, I just saw a segment on TV in which undecided voters were shown a series of commercials on the presidential candidates. Then they were asked to take a computer test to see which impressions from the commercials had "stuck" with them.
While all of them voiced they had no pre-existing notions regarding factors such as age, race and arrogance relating to the candidates, the test showed that these biases were clearly present on a subconscious level. Even though they were not aware of anything consciously, the focus group was very surprised to learn that such messages from negative commercials had "sunk in" to their subconscious minds. The segment concluded with the observation that we employ both our conscious and subconscious minds when we go into the voting booth.
It just goes to show that it's helpful to be aware of what we're taking in - even if it seeps in without our conscious knowledge. And the confidence we gain from knowing what is constant in our lives helps to offset the impressions that may make it past the barrier of our conscious minds.
If you're going through a particularly difficult time, you may not feel you have any external support. You may feel you're the only one you can count on. We all go through difficult times in our lives. Maybe you've felt abandoned by family members, friends, the workplace - or Wall Street. Even if these are temporary circumstances, they're very real - and our conscious and subconscious minds detect this.
That's why it's so important to stay grounded, especially in these times of shifting sands. You may want to think about the people and things in your life that give you this assurance - sort of an insurance policy or extra-strength vitamin to bolster you.
It's also helpful to institute some regular rituals - whether it's a vow to yourself to read something motivational for 10 minutes each morning or to take a 10-minute walk each day or to build in 10 minutes of quiet time for yourself.