It’s no secret that the upcoming election is one of the strangest of our time, if not ever.
No matter which candidate you choose to support, the only thing we know for sure is that on Election Day, America is going to elect the least favorable candidate in history.
And that president is going to choose a ninth Supreme Court Justice, who will then rule about minor issues like gun control, immigration and abortion.
It’s no wonder that many Americans (52 percent, according to the New York Times and a national survey) are starting to feel stressed about November 8.
“One of the things this election can trigger is catastrophic thinking,” says St. Elizabeth‘s Gail Rizzo, LPCC-s, CADC. “[We’re] obsessing about worst case scenarios and what we think may happen.”
Rizzo, a child and family counselor, reminds us that “none us really know what is going to happen and if we live based on created scenarios, we are not engaging in the present moment. We can miss the good things going on in our actual life.”
According to the New York Times, every election has some element of anxiety for many people because we don’t control the outcome and we begin to feel nervous when our preferred candidate does not do well. However, according to mental health experts across the country, the one recurring theme causing stress this season: The election is making people feel unsafe.
So, what can you do to deal with this feeling (besides waiting and watching over the next four years)?
Rizzo recommends the following:
- Deep breathing exercises: Breathe in for a count of five and out for a count of 10.
- Guided imagery: Allow your brain to take you to a place that makes you happy.
- Utilize positive psychology: Look for positive things happening in your life and focus on them instead of obsessing over news reports or current events.
“Look for items that are currently meaningful and fulfilling and focus on those,” said Rizzo.
Therapists quoted in the New York Times agree: Only engage with news and current events for 20 minutes a day and then move on to other things that make you happy.
If your election anxiety has reached an all-time high, it may be time to talk to a professional who can help you cope. Click the button below or call (859) 301-5900 for more information.