Boy, 2020. It’s been a disaster for anyone already struggling with their mental health.
First the pandemic and lockdowns then the protests. Oh, and maybe the most contentious presidential election in our lifetime. It’s taking a toll.
A recent study by the American Psychological Association found that nearly 70% of adults say the election is a significant source of stress.
Smartphone apps can be a source of coping. The very popular meditation app “Ten Percent Happier” has launched a special section of its app titled “Election Sanity Challenge.”
The host of the app, Dan Harris, explains in an intro to the seven-day challenge that the goal is helping people manage the stress and anxiety brought on by the political discussions and arguments so that you can navigate the next few days a little easier.
“We’ve carefully curated these mediations to help you improve your meditative chops,” Harris explains in the opening. “And deepening your capacity for staying connected, engaged, and level headed.”
That all sounds pretty good.
Each day Harris interviews a professional counselor or faith leader about one of the specific areas of mental health concerns. The discussion is followed by a 10-15 minute meditation. There are many other meditation guides available that are not necessarily part of the Election Sanity Challenge but they certainly apply to what people are experiencing these days.
One such meditation encourages people to be mindful of the anger they’re feeling rather than ignoring or suppressing it but “also not acting out in harmful ways.”
The seven day Election Sanity Challenge was launched on October 27th and will be available through November 2nd. So far, nearly 45,000 people are currently taking the challenge and following the plan. The app says as of Friday, those users have meditated over 1.3 million mindful minutes.
The Ten Percent Happier app is free but normally requires a subscription to participate in the meditation guides.
Recognizing the need for people to cope with the anger and hostility they’re experiencing on social media about the election, the app’s creators are making the Election Sanity Challenge free to anyone who downloads the app.