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Elemental
Your life, sourced by science. A publication from Medium about health and wellness.

Election 2020

In Elemental. More on Medium.

What research reveals about sighing and how you can harness your breath to feel good anytime

Photo: Justin Paget/Getty Images

If you breathed a sigh of relief when you saw the Associated Press call the presidential race for Joe Biden on November 7, 2020, you weren’t alone. Sighs of relief were heard around the world. The New York Times reported that “Biden Victory Brings Sighs of Relief Overseas,” while The Guardian published an op-ed entitled “Catastrophe has been averted. Let us all breathe a big, long sigh of relief.”

So, what exactly is a sigh of relief?

Augmented breaths, or sighs, are a neurobiological phenomenon with physiological, psychological, and pathological implications. …


Different forms of relief — from pain, or from the fretful anticipation wrapped up in a political election — look quite similar in the brain.

Illustration: Sophi Gullbrants

The Greek philosopher Epicurus famously described pleasure as the absence of pain. And, according to some scholars, Epicurus believed that the greatest form of pleasure comes from the abatement of pain — that is, from relief of some form of torment.

“I think it makes a lot of sense to talk about relief right now,” says Jack Nitschke, PhD, a psychologist and associate professor at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. …


Uncertainty can hijack our planning machinery and weaponize it against us

Illustration: Sophi Gullbrants

Election Day 2020 is here, finally. And now, after all the waiting, it’s time to wait some more. Who will win? What will that win look like? When will we know for sure? Hard to say. Throw in all the open questions about the coronavirus, and the current moment’s level of unpredictability feels off the charts.

For many, all this uncertainty is likely to be distressing — if not downright destabilizing.

“Some people have the ability to sit with uncertainty and to let go of it — to not fret about it,” says Michelle Newman, PhD, director of the Laboratory…


How to open and close the tap on difficult emotions

Photo: Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Images

“Tick… tick… tick…” That’s the sound of the timer on the bomb forecast to detonate on November 3, 2020. Its rhythm is in step with society’s heartbeat (and fluctuating nervous system), a nagging reminder of this election’s high stakes. From right to left, few are immune — and many are anxious.

A new survey by the American Psychological Association (APA) found that more than two-thirds (68%) of American adults say that the 2020 U.S. presidential election is a significant source of stress in their life. This is a substantive increase from 2016, when 52% said the same. …


The Election & Your Health

A look at what’s at stake

Illustration: Olivia Fields

As the country careens toward a presidential election in the midst of a raging pandemic, the dueling headlines on public health and politics are a stark indication that, no matter who wins in November, this election will have profound, far-reaching consequences for your physical health and well-being. All this week, Elemental is running a series of stories detailing what’s at stake, from insurance coverage to plans for a pandemic still in progress. Here’s what you should know about the implications of the election on reproductive health and family planning.

The influence of politics over reproductive rights and sexual health is…


The Election & Your Health

A look at what’s at stake for America’s gaping health disparities

Illustration: Olivia Fields

As the country careens towards a presidential election in the midst of a raging pandemic, the dueling headlines on public health and politics are a stark indication that, no matter who wins in November, this election will have profound, far-reaching consequences for your physical health and well-being. All this week, Elemental is running a series of stories detailing what’s at stake, from insurance coverage to plans for a pandemic still in progress. Here’s what you should know about the implications of the election on health for people of color and the LGBTQ+ community.

Social determinants of health — including education…


The Election & Your Health

A look at what’s at stake for the Affordable Care Act

Illustration: Olivia Fields

As the country careens toward a presidential election in the midst of a raging pandemic, the dueling headlines on public health and politics are a stark indication that, no matter who wins in November, this election will have profound, far-reaching consequences for your physical health and well-being. All this week, Elemental is running a series of stories detailing what’s at stake, from insurance coverage to plans for a pandemic still in progress. Here’s what you should know about the implications of the election on the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Since the moment it was signed into law by President Barack…


The Election & Your Health

A look at what’s at stake for your health

Illustration: Olivia Fields

As the country careens toward a presidential election in the midst of a raging pandemic, the dueling headlines on public health and politics are a stark indication that no matter who wins in November, this election will have profound, far-reaching consequences for your physical health and well-being. All this week, Elemental is running a series of stories detailing what’s at stake, from insurance coverage to plans for a pandemic still in progress. Here’s what you should know about the implications of the election on Covid-19.

The United States leads the world in Covid-19 diagnoses, with confirmed cases now nearing 8…

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