Post-election shock and anxiety can be a real experience. With emotional wellness in mind, we spoke to our Senior Psychologist Peter Hayton and asked him for some tips for those concerned about post-election depression.
The US Election of President-Elect Trump had the world captivated. It was arguably the most watched election in a generation. At it’s culmination, as the results become apparent, there were strong reactions. Some rejoiced, but some also wept. Financial markets reacted swiftly, and then just as quickly, seemingly recovered.
Facebook feeds were filled with emotional reactions, either enthusiastically supporting President-Elect Trump or expressing complete disbelief and great angst at the thought. Very few people felt detached from the result. Of course, campaign staff for both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton took this result personally, but so many others also appeared to feel a very personal connection to the result – whether they viewed it positively or negatively.
Our Senior Psychologist, Peter Hayton, gives three ways you can overcome “post-election shock” or anxiety.
Put your brain’s storytelling into context.
Remember that your brain is a creative and practised story-teller. When we are in the middle of an intense emotional experience, our brains will often start to tell us a terrible story about the future and how bad it will be. This makes us fearful and anxious, feeding worry about the future. It’s helpful in that moment to remind ourselves that the reality rarely turns out as badly as we fear it will. Generally, our brains are very practised at creating the scenario of an unhappy future and we have to train ourselves not to believe every terrible scenario presented to us.
Find something enjoyable right now.
Finding something right now which is enjoyable about your life helps you to become grounded in the actualities of your present. Becoming mindful of something positive can re-calibrate your sense of wellbeing and help you to focus on something positive. Finding something to be grateful for and appreciative of has even been shown to lower the level of stress hormones in your blood.
Read the signs.
If you are experiencing a particularly strong levels of anxiety or stress, this might be a sign that you have more serious concerns underlying your reaction. If you are experiencing debilitating fear or anxiety, it is important to reach out to a health professional for trusted expert help. Turning to alcohol or other drugs to self-medicate will not only perpetuate and worsen the feelings, but can lead to other negative health outcomes.
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