This Election Anxiety Playlist Will Help You Stay Grounded, No Matter What Happens

Whether you need help managing your doomscrolling or calming your mind before bed, the Shine app's Election Anxiety Playlist has you covered.

Photo: Adobe Stock - Animation Design: Alex Sandoval

Election Day is right around the corner and one thing is clear: everyone is anxious. In a new nationally representative survey from The Harris Poll and the American Psychological Association, nearly 70% of U.S. adults say the election is "a significant source of stress" in their life. Regardless of political affiliation, tensions are high across the board. (

If you're searching for ways to dial down your stress these next several days (or, possibly, weeks), look no further than the Shine app's Election Anxiety Playlist — a collection of mindfulness resources curated to help you make it through Election Day and beyond.

"The election is so much bigger than one day," Naomi Hirabayashi, co-founder and co-CEO of Shine, a self-care app, tells Shape. "Plus, if you combine that with the fear of the pandemic and the fight for racial justice, tensions are high. We wanted to create an easy-to-use resource that can help people cope with all the emotional stress." (

The Shine app was created by Hirabayashi in collaboration with her friend and business partner, Marah Lidey. After bonding over their struggles with mental health, especially as women of color, Hirabayashi and Lidey quickly went from acquaintances to friends. "We started having open, honest conversations with each other about what we struggled with and how often that was colored by our backgrounds — whether that was as women, or people of color, or the first in our families to go to college," Lidey tells Shape. "We felt like we needed a place where everyone had the opportunity to talk about the highs and lows that came with their emotional health." (

It was through those conversations that the concept of the Shine app was born. "Having lived through different experiences where we felt alone in what we were struggling in, we thought about what it would have meant for us to have a product like Shine," says Hirabayashi. With the help of the Apple Entrepreneur Camp, a program that supports underrepresented entrepreneurs and diversity in technology, Hirabayashi and Lidey fine-tuned their in-app experience and took Shine's mission to the next level. (

Today, the app offers a three-part self-care experience for $12 per month or $54 for a yearly subscription (including a 7-day free trial). The "Reflect" feature directs you to an in-app chat with daily reflections and guided prompts to help you check in with yourself. Through the "Discuss" platform, you're introduced to a community of like-minded individuals on the app who have daily discussions about different self-care topics. You also get access to an audio library of over 800 meditations brought to life by the voices of a diverse group of influencers and experts. (

As for the Shine app's Election Anxiety Playlist, the collection offers 11 guided meditations total — seven of which are free without a subscription — each ranging from 5-11 minutes long. Led by experts including mindfulness teacher Elisha Mudly, self-care writer Aisha Beau, mentality coach Jacqueline Gould, and activist Rachel Cargle, each meditation offers something different to cater to your mental health needs.

For instance, tracks like "Feel Resilient" and "Cope with Your Election Anxiety" offer mindfulness exercises that encourage you to stay centered when you feel overwhelmed. Other tracks teach you how to set boundaries around the news, or breathing exercises to calm the nervous system and promote sleep for improved mental clarity. (If you're already having trouble sleeping because of stress or election anxiety, try these sleep tips for stress and night anxiety.)

If you plan to vote on Election Day and you're feeling nervous about it, try listening to Cargle's "Walking to Vote" track on the playlist to ease your stress on the way to the polls. The six-minute meditation reminds you of your power as a citizen and how important it is to exercise your right to vote. (Refresher: These are the biggest women's health issues you'll be voting on in the 2020 presidential election.)

Hirabayashi says their decision to feature Cargle on the "Walking to Vote" track was deliberate, given the role she's played in empowering marginalized communities. "[She's] so outspoken about intersectionality and mental health — particularly as it relates to the Black experience," says Hirabayashi. "She's one of the best people to represent what it means to vote during these times and what it means for human rights. We're proud to be able to work with her."

"Our biggest hope is that we are doing our part in helping marginalized communities feel seen when it comes to their emotional needs," adds Lidey.

Whether you queue up the Election Anxiety Playlist to ease your voting nerves or help you limit your doomscrolling, you deserve a tool to help you process what you're feeling right now, says Hirabayashi. "The messages in Rachel's meditation, and the whole playlist, are motivating, empowering, and allow people to recognize why their voice deserves to be heard."

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