(COLORADO) — Election Day is upon Colorado and that means stress for a lot of people regardless of their feelings toward politics. Learning how to handle election day stress and manage stress whether politically related or otherwise is essential to maintaining your mental health.

The Mayo Clinic lists numerous advantages to practicing stress reduction techniques including lowering blood pressure, improving digestion, reducing muscle tension and chronic pain, and reducing anger and frustration.

Mayo Clinic also recommends pairing relaxation techniques with positive coping methods including finding humor, regular exercise and spending time outside. Here are some relaxation techniques from Mayo Clinic to help get through this Election Day:

  • Autogenic relaxation. Autogenic means something that comes from within you. In this relaxation technique, you use both visual imagery and body awareness to reduce stress. You repeat words or suggestions in your mind that may help you relax and reduce muscle tension. For example, you may imagine a peaceful setting. Then you can focus on relaxing your breathing, slowing your heart rate, or feeling different physical sensations, such as relaxing each arm or leg one by one.
  • Progressive muscle relaxation. In this relaxation technique, you focus on slowly tensing and then relaxing each muscle group. This can help you focus on the difference between muscle tension and relaxation. You can become more aware of physical sensations. In one method of progressive muscle relaxation, you start by tensing and relaxing the muscles in your toes and progressively working your way up to your neck and head. This is best done in a quiet area without interruptions. You can also start with your head and neck and work down to your toes. Tense your muscles for about five seconds and then relax for 30 seconds, and repeat.
  • Visualization. In this relaxation technique, you may form mental images to take a visual journey to a peaceful, calming place or situation. To relax using visualization, try to include as many senses as you can, such as smell, sight, sound and touch. If you imagine relaxing at the ocean, for instance, think about the smell of salt water, the sound of crashing waves and the warmth of the sun on your body. You may want to close your eyes, sit in a quiet spot, loosen any tight clothing, and focus on your breathing. Aim to focus on the present and think positive thoughts.

Multiple sources, including ZzzQuil, recommend practicing mindfulness to help reduce stress. “Mindfulness means being aware and present in the moment. Simply focusing on the moment rather than in the future or the past can help reduce stress by breaking you out of a cycle of disruptive thinking. Think positively. What in your life is going well right now? What are you thankful for? Positive thoughts in the present help ground you. You can also meditate and try to clear your mind entirely, which has similar positive benefits.”

Psychology Today lists these strategies for coping with Election Day stress:

  • Control your ingestion of political ads. Turn the volume off or walk out of the room and take a bathroom break.
  • Control how much news you are watching.
  • Take walks in nature. Psycho-physiological restorative responses have been noted in studies that look at people’s reactions to natural surroundings.
  • Listen to music. Reductions in respiration rates, skin conductance, and muscle tension have all been reported when research subjects are monitored while listening to music.
  • Engage in mindfulness practice. The emotional and physical benefits of meditation are well known. They include: gaining a new perspective, increasing self-awareness, focusing on the present, reducing negative emotions, and increasing patience and tolerance.
  • Plan a response if your candidate loses. As an example, continue to be, or become, active in creating positive change for the issues you care most about.
  • Try to reduce a partisan mindset in which you see only the other party’s danger. Understand that this mindset makes you overly aware of the perils of the other side while not noting the weaknesses that your party may bring.
  • Disrupt the “What if” negative loop. People uncomfortable with uncertainty often want to use their intellect to solve problems. Around and around they go, digging a deeper and deeper hole as they keep trying to solve the unsolvable, for example, the unknown future. Limit yourself to three cycles of “What if…” and then distract yourself with one of the current means of coping listed above.

Election Day is inevitably charged with passion, emotion, and energy. Cope with all of that with these tips and remember that it is just politics.