Each day that brings us closer to the election feels like another step toward the edge of a proverbial plank, one we walk in shoes made out of acupuncture needles, with an army of fire ants crawling around in our pockets, wearing a blindfold soaked in the juice of a thousand lemons. It's not enough, apparently, that we have to worry about the results. We also have to worry about the fact that those results might not be finalized until days after November 3, if not weeks; that Donald Trump has said, multiple times, that he won't commit to a peaceful transfer of power; and that Republican operatives are actively planning to contest the election, potentially setting us up for a constitutional battle that, according to The Atlantic's Barton Gellman, could "break America." Meanwhile, law enforcement officials are anticipating a rash of unrest and violence no matter who wins, and police agencies across the country are already preparing for it.
Personally, it feels like there's a little voice inside of me screaming "aaaaaaaaaaahhh!!!!" at all times, a voice that gets progressively louder with each passing day. I'm not alone: According to an American Psychological Association survey conducted in June, 83 percent of Americans say the future of the country is a "significant source of stress" for them. Odds are you're one of those Americans—and with the election just around the corner, you could probably use something to calm you down.
The most effective (and most constructive!) way to relieve your election-related anxiety is to secure your vote, and to help other folks in your state do the same. As VICE's Katie Way wrote, getting educated about voting protocol, phonebanking, working the polls, and otherwise doing your part to boost turnout and protect voting rights isn't just good for the country; it's good for your mental health.
Maybe you've already voted (or solidified a plan to) and done everything else you can to ensure America doesn't plunge further into a fiery, fascistic hellscape—and yet, alas, you're still freaking out. If you can't stop doomscrolling, or you've had CNN on in the background for seven straight hours, or you're tormented by the thought of Trump being reelected and can't turn your brain off no matter how hard you try, allow us to suggest a simple solution: Listening to some extremely soothing music.
We've put together a playlist of mellow, soul-cleansing songs to help you forget about the election, and enter a kind of fugue state where everything is peaceful and The Bad Man does not exist. Research shows that listening to music can have a legitimate calming effect on your mind and body. The right song can slow your breathing, lower your heart rate and blood pressure, ease tension in your muscles, and quiet your nervous system. That's especially true of down-tempo music with soft dynamics and an emphasis on repetition, something this playlist is chock full of.
Do yourself a favor and give it a listen. At the very least, it'll help distract you from the election—and with any luck, you'll feel a whole lot better by the time it's over.
Follow Drew Schwartz on Twitter.