Self

Emotional Regulation Could Be The Key To Getting Through The Next Presidential Election

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marianne williamson presidential election

Another presidential election is close enough that campaigns are ramping up. Was that a collective sigh I just heard? No doubt, the political cycles over the last 8 years have exhausted many of us. 

The upcoming election cycle is on track to be just as stress-inducing if not more than the last, and that’s not even taking into account the unknown impact AI will have. We should all start talking to everyone at the family cookouts this summer about the dangers of deep-fakes, and remind Uncle Buster he really can’t be sure someone said something just because there is a video of it.

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While we can’t control much of what will be presented to us as the election heats up, we can make a conscious choice to manage our reactions and regulate our emotions.

That could be the key to making it through this situation better, not only personally, but also better as a country.

Therapy is having a moment. Instagram and TikTok make mental health education more accessible to the masses than ever. Self-awareness and emotional regulation are not uncommon topics of conversation, online and off. We’ve arrived at a time when we could actually evolve beyond behaviors of the past.

But, like anyone who is “doing the work” will tell you, things won’t magically change. We have to put in the effort first.

“Hope is born out of participation,” Marianne Williamson, 2024 presidential candidate, said on the YourTango podcast Open Relationships

Williamson is up against political powerhouses and the current sitting President, but she’s still polling at 10%, which is notable this early in the race.

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She credits some of this to Gen Z and their openness to doing things differently than what’s been done before.

Speaking to Andrea Miller and Joanna Schroeder on the podcast, both mothers in their 40s and 50s, she had this to say about Gen Z:

“They were raised by mothers like us. They were raised by women who read the kinds of books that we read and write… I don’t think we should underestimate how important that is.

They’re not 20th Century people. They were born into a different paradigm trying to emerge. The mechanistic, transactional, politics and order of civilization of the 20th Century is not natural to them. And, most importantly, it does not serve them.

They don’t look at the economic ideas left over from the 20th Century and say, ‘Well, look what that gives me! It gives me education. It gives me healthcare.’ They look at it and think, what has that ever done for me?

So, I think the shadow side of that is some of that openness to the new is out of desperation and a kind of hopelessness.”

Hopelessness.

For some, that may be the motivating factor to get out and make a change, but for others, that may be what paralyzes them in a state of despair. Fight or flight- both reactions are caused by stress. 

Stress exhausts us, and when we are tired we don’t have the energy to engage in real conversations, especially with people we don’t agree with. So we end up either in a rage or despondent, unable to find common ground with our neighbors.

What if we collectively decided to regulate our emotions, to keep ourselves from falling into fight-or-flight? What if we participated even when it was uncomfortable? What if we listened and conversed more than we accused and retreated? What if we chose hope? 

Could the answer to making it through this next election cycle be what’s recently become a hot topic on social media- emotional regulation? I certainly think it’s worth a shot.

RELATED: 11 Reasons You Feel Extremely Emotional All The Time

Jill Krause is a writer and content creator with a focus on maternal mental health and midlife reinvention. She’s a published author and has been recognized for her work by Time, Vogue, Washington Post, Us Weekly, Today, and more.