How to cope with your feelings after this election.
It’s two days after the election and the American people are experiencing diverse emotions.
Personally, I am feeling tired and shocked. Tired as I stayed up way too late to see the results. I was shocked, not only by the results but also by the reactions from my family and friends whose candidate did not win. I also sense relief from people who are glad the election cycle is over so we can move on with life.
I also sense relief from people who are glad the election cycle is over so we can move on with life.
We, as Americans, are feeling real emotions and need to find healthy ways of expressing and coping with our emotions. What we are feeling today is real; don't let anyone tell you different.
The campaign brought out many sensitive issues and heightened reactions from people. Those feelings don't just disappear. Some of us feel vindicated in our arguments while others feel a sense of loss that their arguments and positions on important issues may now not be heard.
This is true after every election, but heightened today due to the polarization and length of this entire political process of almost two years.
Where do we go from here? How do we cope with our feelings in a healthy way which will lead us to find inner peace and happiness? Here are 8 practical ways to do so:
1. Acknowledge your feelings.
Don’t downplay or minimize what you are feeling as "it’s only an election". What you are feeling is legitimate for you at this moment.
2. Restrict your social media time or conversations with people whom you know will increase your anxiety.
Self-care is necessary, and an important aspect of self-care is standing up for yourself. Give yourself permission to limit your time with anxiety-producing activities and people.
Let people know you are doing this and why. Some of our anxiety is a result of feeling out of control, so in letting others know that you are choosing self-care, you are taking control of the situation and your anxiety will decrease.
3. Keep perspective.
I hear many people listing horrible future outcomes of a Trump presidency, all events which have not yet happened. Fear and worry increase the more we dwell in the future since the future is out of our control.
Consciously remind yourself that no one knows the future, and regardless of what we may fear about the future, it is an unknown which may or may not happen. Replace your worry and fear with what is happening in the present moment.
In the moment yes, we have a new president-elect, but in the present moment, no changes to our lives are being made. The transition to the presidency lasts through January of next year, not happening now.
Throughout the next days and months, spend time educating yourself about the issues and finding ways to become active in local and national politics. Taking action gives us a sense of control, reducing our feelings of helplessness.
4. Restrict your time to worry.
Feeling your feelings as they happen is healthy, but dwelling on negative feelings for an extended time becomes unhealthy. Set aside time where you give yourself permission to worry about the future, but when that time is up, give yourself the permission to stop worrying.
Our mind can be our worst enemy, so don't allow it to win. After you spend your time worrying, take a few deep breaths, keep perspective, and live in the moment.
5. Throughout this election cycle, people fractured relationships with friends and even family members due to opposing political views.
In the next few days spend time thinking of ways you can proactively heal the relationship wounds. Don’t wait for the other person to initiate the healing, take control and be active in the process.
6. Take action.
Anxiety, stress, and worry happen, in part, as a result of us feeling helpless and out of control. Find activities to involve yourself in your community, neighborhood, family, etc. The more you educate yourself and take action, the less stress and worry you will feel.
7. Give yourself time to heal.
"Time heals" holds some truth. The further from today we get, the less intense will your emotions feel. In a sense, ride out the emotional storm.
8. And finally, believe in the resiliency of our nation.
We have survived for over 200 years, sometimes against all odds. This is not the worst period in our history, and I’m sure this will not be the last unexpected outcome of an election. Keep perspective.
Today I join many people experiencing varied emotions today. I encourage you, and myself, to pause, breathe, and keep perspective.
My world didn’t change today, and I am confident it will not change tomorrow. I’m going to feel what I feel, but I refuse to let politics, the media, my friends or family negatively affect my day!