Dear Dr. Alfiee: How Do I Deal With Election Stress?

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Dear Dr. Alfiee,

I’m really really REALLY stressed about the election. I’m worried about so many things; what will happen if my candidate loses? How will I cope with other ballot initiatives impacting the environment, schools, healthcare, etc? How will I cope with my family during the holidays given our polar opposite political views?  This just feels like such a heavy time, help!

Sincerely,
A Stressed-Out Voter

Dear Stressed-Out Voter,

Thank you so much for this question and I am so sorry that you are struggling.  I have to tell you that you are not alone and that you are so brave to even be weighing these things and making a choice to care for yourself.  This is always a first good step.  In this graphic from my Instagram page and in this recent video, I discuss 3 things I am doing to care for my own mental health. In a nutshell, they include:

1) Meditation:  There are well established benefits to quieting the mind; especially for people with anxiety.

2) Re-Centering: I have written extensively about the benefits of active coping and using strategies to help you re-focus your mind. This can be accomplished by simply engaging in an activity that brings you peace, like listening to music.  I had the great opportunity to write about one of the ways I do this with my friend Mark “King” Batson in our new e-book, I Want to See You Shining: The Guide, which you can find on his website here.

3) Listening to soothing music (or using any art form): Research shows that our brains and moods are positively impacted by music which can help us reduce anxiety, elevate our mood, slow the aging process and even improve memory.

Why not begin today by trying some of these activities and setting healthy boundaries for when and where you are willing to discuss the election outcome with loved ones and friends?  Remember, you must allow yourself the time you need to process the outcome and decide on your individual next steps.  Don’t rush any part of your process and please be open in communicating your feelings with your family.  Open communication is demonstrated to have a positive impact on your mental health and your relationships (I’ve even published research  on this subject as part of my work with my nonprofit, the AAKOMA Project, Inc.) 

I am wishing you only peace throughout this election process and this week.

Love and Light,

Dr. Alfiee