Tips for Pre- and Post-Election Anxiety
Tension is thick. The election is upon us, and election anxiety has come with it. This article is not about which candidate is the better choice. Nor is it an article on political views about what the outcome means for our country. That is best left in the hands of the political pundits. This article is about humanity, decency, and composure, focusing on tips for managing your anxiety pre- and post-election.
Control How You Respond
Keep in mind that although you cannot control the outcome of the election, you can control how you respond. Whether your candidate wins or loses, you can accept the victory or defeat with dignity and grace. Will there be a reason to celebrate? Of course. Will there be a cause to experience the loss? Undoubtedly. It is important to acknowledge and feel your feelings about the election for what they are.
Today, tomorrow, and the days that follow, whether your candidate should win or lose, talking about it with friends and family members can be beneficial. By all means, process your feelings in healthy and constructive ways. If you are disappointed or sad, share your feelings with people you trust. If you are angry, talk about your anger. Acting on anger in destructive ways is not a healthy response, nor is it good for your well-being or those around you.
Maintain Your Well-Being
When our bodies and brains experience stress, the hormone cortisol is released. Dealing with the pandemic and its impact on the economy, personal finances, physical and mental health has increased cortisol levels for many of us. What we know from research is that chronic levels of cortisol in the body have a negative impact. Increased cortisol levels over a long period of time compromise the immune system, making us more susceptible to illness and disease. It’s important to recognize the role it plays, especially when added to the stress of election anxiety. Practicing self-care is key to our well-being.
At the end of the day, realize everything is going to be okay. Over the history of our republic, we have swung to the left, and then to the right, then back to the left, and so on. Our country is resilient and the American people always find a way to back to political equilibrium. From the Civil War to WWI, from the Great Depression to WWII, from McCarthyism in the 50s to the turmoil of the 60s and the Vietnam War, and countless other examples, we have always managed to survive and thrive in this great country we call America. That long-term perspective about the past will help us find our way in the present.
We can acknowledge that roughly 50 percent of the American people will not be happy about the political outcome of this election, but if history is any indicator, those who are unhappy now will one day also have their day in the sun. Therein lies great hope. So whether your candidate should win or lose, hold your head high, shake off the political dust, and keep walking with peace in this beautiful land we call America.
Now is a great time to reach out for help with your election anxiety. Click here to find a therapist in your area.
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