Like many of us, it is an understatement to say that I was surprised by the results of our last presidential election. In fact, I was heartsick.
I was not mentally prepared for the immediate psychological toll of shock and grief – which eventually morphed into anger. The shock of the 2016 election results sent me reeling for quite a few weeks before I could find my bearings and channel my fury into positive action.
This time, I want to be prepared for whatever the outcome, and I am tapping into a few psychological strategies to help me through.
Active Optimism – Psychological research on resilience tells us that although we may experience a catastrophic outcome, we can bounce back more quickly if we envision a positive future (optimism) AND believe we have the capability to act on our own behalf.
You can do this too.
After the election on November 3rd, in the spirit of active optimism, I plan to attend a training to help more women get elected to public office. Can you imagine a positive outcome or event that you can engage in immediately following the election and envision yourself participating in that event?
Adopt The Longview – One strategy that has calmed me down when I have done too much “doomscrolling” is to remember that this is a moment in time. We have had over 200 years of a democracy that has progressively become more just and inclusive. We survived the presidency of James Buchanen who fueled the intense polarization which led to the Civil War, and the prolific corruption of Warren Harding. If you can focus on a long view and hold on to a historical perspective, you may be able to view this current situation as a moment in time, and hopefully –this too shall pass.
Find Your People– After the 2016 election, I found comfort and solace connecting with people who shared my grief and anger. Isolation can increase our sense of despair and pessimism. Research has shown that when we are pessimistic, we perceive that stressors are more unmanageable and problems are more difficult to solve. Isolation and pessimism lowers our resilience. So, I am making a plan to connect with my tribe – those people who tend to share my experience. Consider doing the same. Sharing our experience helps us process our collective pain so that we can channel our emotions into action. And, taking action (even something very small) helps us feel more in control.
With 7 days to go, there is still plenty of time to mentally prepare for the outcome of the election- in between phone banking, texting and volunteering at the polls of course!