This election was very stressful. In the USA and elsewhere, the effects of this election cycle will reverberate for a long time to come. However it is important to remember that whether your chosen candidate won or lost, you still have a world to wake up to in the morning.
Any major contest brings with it a level of anxiety. Job interviews, dates, performances, and elections all trigger a stress response that can cause distress if left unchecked. So here are three things that can help relieve some of that stress.
Take care of yourself
Any time we are stressed, our bodies release hormones to help us handle whatever “threat” we are facing. Cortisol, Adrenaline, Norepinephrine, and many others contribute to increased focus, goal-directed behavior, and even increased physical stength if necessary. It’s our body’s way of making sure that if we stand and fight, we can win; and if we decide to run, we can get away. A “Fight or Flight response,” if you will…
The problem with stress and anxiety isn’t what it’s designed to do; it’s what it does when the thing causing the reaction is something we can’t do anything about. Adrenaline and Cortisol aren’t supposed to stay at elevated levels, and can wreak havoc on your immune system, digestion, sleep, memory, weight, and many other things too!
So I recommend taking time to purposefully not dwell about the election. It can be difficult to specifically not think about something, but with every thought comes a choice to entertain it. Choose something soothing to think about and focus on that. A beach, a mountain, the woods, sitting by the fire; wherever is most relaxing. The election is over, and the time for stress has passed. It’s time to recover.
I’m no political analyst, but I understand that a lot of people see the election of Trump as a deeply personal thing. He made many inflammatory comments and garnered certain endorsements that send the message that he is a bit…shall we say…intolerant?
This article from one of my favorite comedy sites makes the point that the US population tends to favor the country moving in the direction that it has been moving in, and that this election was more of a protest than an outright expression of hate. The world will keep spinning, and America is still America.
So instead of declaring that this is the end of the world, focus instead on building the community you want to be a part of. Engage in hopeful and supportive discourse with someone you disagree with. Even if that discourse is on the internet, where Godwin’s Law is a thing.
Connect With Others
In the video linked above, Stephen Colbert highlights that fact that half of both parties believe that the other party is what’s wrong with America. Again, I’m no political expert, but I am a marriage counselor. The first thoughts that come to my mind are centered around that fact that right around 2/3 of marital conflict are unresolvable, and that that the key to a healthy relationship is learning to understand, empathize, negotiate, and compromise.
When it comes to these political conflicts, that is often the first thing to go: Republicans are hate-mongerers while Democrats just want to spend all our hard-earned money. Nothing is that simple. If it was, we would’ve dropped the two party system right around the time of Washington. Focus on understanding the choices made by those who disagree with you, and then we can all grow from this experience.
So there we are: 3 ways to recover from the election stress. There will be plenty of time for discussion when news comes up, but this isn’t a news blog, so you’ll have to get your information someplace else!
What are some of the things you do to recover from particularly stressful events? Share some stuff in the comments below, and feel free to like and share!
Note: While I do recommend reading that Cracked article, I do not advocate “get drunk” as a healthy coping skill.