I’m scared. 80,000,000 people are going to be upset tonight no matter who wins the election.
Buildings are boarded up in every major city. Riot gear is being handed out. Security companies are being hired to add protection. Celebrities are going to move to Canada for the 20th election in a row.
The #1 stress being discussed in psychologist’s offices is “political stress”. You cannot help solve the problems we are in if you are anxious or stressed. You cannot be rational if you are not taking care of yourself physically, emotionally, creatively. You cannot enhance the lives of your family, your friends, your community, if you are arguing on social media.
This is your choice.
The US has survived Depressions, World Wars, (“two-time world champs,” as comedian Chris Distefano puts it), we’ve survived horrific natural disasters, terrorist, attacks, censorship (if you think social media is bad, check out the Alien & Sedition Acts), pandemics, etc. It’s going to be ok.
Over $10 BILLION was spent this election. More than ever. What was it spent on? Scaring you. Stressing you. Dividing us.
And after this election, our goal is to repair rather than compare. To sympathize rather than polarize. To strengthen each other rather than pull each other down. A true leader is not who is elected but those of us who take action to help others. This is our responsibility.
I called Amy Morin, author of the bestselling book, “13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do”.
She wrote that book after she went through a horrific year at the age of 26. Her young husband had passed away, only a few short years after her mother passed away. As a therapist, she had to apply her own ideas to herself and it’s almost impossible. But she did it and I’m happy she wrote about it. Her ideas help me and can help all of us on a day like today.
She sent me her list of “13 Things Mentally Strong People Do When Their Candidate Loses”. Then she went on my podcast and we talked about each one.
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1) They Accept The Outcome
- No matter who wins, a mentally strong person will accept the outcome and move on with their lives
- You can throw a pity party and wish things were different, but that’s a waste of time and doesn’t do you any good
2) They Name Their Feelings
- Many studies have shown that if you label your feelings, it takes the sting out of it:
- “Just putting a label to those emotions reduces the intensity of them, you start to feel better almost instantly” — Amy Morin
3) They Look At The Facts
- Take a step back to look at what’s true what’s not
Trust me when I say: whatever is your critical issue, it’s not as bad as you think. [If you ask about issues in the comments I will write another article after this election about what the reality is for each issue]
4) They Argue The Opposite When Thinking Of Doom And Gloom
- If you think the economy will crash if your presidential candidate doesn’t win, argue the opposite
- Just because things will be different, it doesn’t mean things will be worse
5) They Limit Their Media
- No one, not even the media, knows exactly what the future holds
- Studies show that watching the evening news can elevate your stress levels
- Limit your media time to 30 minutes
6) They Stop Commiserating
- Commiserating, or complaining to others, makes you feel worse and makes the world seem more gloomy
- There’s a big difference between emotional support and commiserating
- “It’s not really all that healthy for us to just sit around and talk about how horrible life is” — Amy Morin
7) They Focus On What They Can Control
- You can’t control the outcome of the election but you can control your diet, who you spend time with, how much sleep you get, etc.
- The more we worry about things we can’t control, the more anxious we become
8) They Resist The Urge To Argue On Social Media
- People aren’t going to change who they’re going to vote for over a stranger’s opinion on social media
- “You’re not changing anyone’s opinion. You’re just wasting your time and your energy.” — Amy Morin
9) They Reach For Healthy Coping Skills
- Have a strategy to handle anxiety, fear, etc.
- Avoid reaching for alcohol or sweets
- Try doing yoga, spending time with loved ones, or other healthy ways of coping
10) They Take Care Of Themselves
- Get 8 hours of sleep, exercise daily, and eat healthy
11) They Change The Channel In Their Brain
- Recognize when you’re dwelling on the negative or ruminating on a problem instead of trying to solve it
- If you find yourself focusing on something negative, get up and go do something different (cleaning your room, go for a walk, call a friend to catch up, etc.)
12) They Schedule Time To Worry
- Give yourself 15 minutes to worry every day. With practice, people can contain their worrying to just 15 minutes a day.
- It’s okay to spend time worrying, the key, however, is to be able to contain it
13) They Take Positive Action
- Do something kind and positive for someone
- Be kind to your neighbor
- Send a thank you letter to a friend
- Do some community service
- Make your partner laugh
I’ve been scared these past few weeks. That’s why I called Amy. It’s like we’re lonely boats trying to find shore on a foggy night. Become a beacon of light to those around you, and then when the night is gray, all of the boats will move toward you, bringing their bountiful riches.
[Please share this with anyone you think it can help. Our goals are to come out of this better than we were. With a stronger Union. With more compassion for others. With our loving relationships still intact. With the strength to handle tomorrow’s issues. Good luck.]