A recent New York Times article reported that, according to the American Psychological Association, 52% of Americans are coping with high levels of stress brought on by the election.
I’m not surprised. I’ve heard people use terms like “election fatigue” and “election anxiety” to describe how the endless barrage of mean-spirited messaging is making them feel. And the malaise is spreading. I’m a pretty upbeat, resilient person, but lately I’ve noticed that even my own resilience reserves are being challenged.
There’s not much any of us can do about what’s being delivered across all the TV, radio, internet and print channels, but there are definitely some things we can do to minimize their impact on how we feel and do.
Here are a few tips to help you cope:
- Turn it off – The less negative input you expose yourself to, the better you’ll feel – guaranteed. So if, like me, you’re in the habit of turning on the TV first thing in the morning while you’re getting dressed or having breakfast, don’t do it! If you normally sit there thumbing through Apple News on your handheld while drinking your first cup of coffee, put it down! You’ll quickly notice that your day will get off to a more positive start – and what you didn’t learn about the day’s “news” isn’t likely to hurt you. But if you must look, limit yourself to 10-15 minutes a day!
- Tune into the positive – If you’re commuting to work by car, train or bus, be picky about what you listen to. Choose your favorite music or audio book instead of the news station. Listen to something that inspires you and boosts your optimism. Positivity breeds positivity.
- Talk about your dog – Try not to get sucked into discussions with friends, co-workers or family members about the latest debate or how broken the system is or how horrible it’s going to be even after November 8th. Pretend that someone is calling your mobile phone and run away. In this case, ignorance is truly bliss! If you can’t get away, tell a pet story. Change the subject to something really cute that your dog did yesterday. At least this might help you feel better!
- Use a Resilience Skill – If you’re feeling badly – anxious, sad, frustrated or even angry – the Trap It, Map It, Zap It! Skill is a good place to start:
- Trap It! – Name the emotion. We’re all pretty good at identifying how we feel.
- Map It! – Tune into your thinking and try to find the thought that’s fueling the negative emotion. Click here to receive a Thought-Emotion Map.
- Zap It! – This is the tough part. But try to challenge your thinking and find one way to think more positively about the situation. Or, just try counting to 10 and distracting yourself. Click here for a copy of our Trap It!, Map It!, Zap It! chart.