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Can November 8th Get Here Fast Enough

I’ve been through several national election cycles and I don’t ever remember one evoking so much emotional tension, stress and reactivity among individuals.  In the election of the first African American president the emotions were very different.  There was an excitement of being part of a history making event.  Again, were are on the eve of another history making event, possibly electing the first woman president of the United States, yet the energy and emotions are very different.

In 1 out of 3 office visits, there is some mention of the election in terms of the disgust, despair, disbelief or frustration.  This highly technological world that we live in has definitely changed how we hear, interpret, and process information.  Social media, tweeting, daytime and late night talk shows, SNL and 24 hour news stations have become the source of information and news; no wonder we are stressed this election cycle.  One client, (who gave me permission to share) states her _ year old son asked, “Mommie, when are Trump and Hillary going to stop fighting?”  Sad commentary on this election cycle.

Even the American Psychological Association (APA), has identified that more than half (52/%) of U.S. adults, regardless of party affiliation felt very or somewhat stressed by the election.¹

So how do we get through the next 4 weeks in spite of the negativity and polarization of the election? Here are some coping strategies:

1).  Limit your media and social media intake.  Take a walk, have a family dinner with no devices and conversation.  Play a board game.  Fast from TV in the evening.

2).  Set boundaries.  My favorite intervention.  Avoid discussions on politics, the election, and the candidates, especially if it may escalate into a debate or conflict.  Don’t have multiple discussions in the same day.  You can say, “I’ve already talked politics for the day.”  Read to stay informed.  Reading does not evoke the emotional reactivity that watching a pundit, surrogate or campaign manager putting a spin on the story evokes. 

3).  Be pro-active.  Make sure you vote on November 8th.  By voting, you will have done your part in the election cycle.  Get involved to make a positive difference in your community on the issues and concerns that you feel passionate about.  Volunteer at a non-profit, advocate for a cause by joining a local group, attending a city council meeting, or working on a future campaign.

4).  Don’t develop the what if…mentality and a catastrophizing way of thinking about the future.  Know whose you are, know your source and know who your provider is!!

5).  Finally, remember you live in one of the greatest countries in the world.  Get balanced information, maintain a balanced perspective and make a difference in your sphere of influence.Type your paragraph here.