There may be a deep chasm between political parties in the U.S. today, but around 68%of Americans say that the upcoming election is a “significant source of tension” no matter their political affiliation, according to the American Psychological Association’s Stress in America 2020 report It understandably feels scary to have a lack of real control over the result of the election beyond casting your vote (And can vote or ensuring your vote counts can also be outside of your control in some scenarios). Stress and anxiety can be a direct result of “investing our precious restricted mindful attention on what we don’t have control over,” Dave Rabin, M.D., Ph.D., a psychiatrist and neuroscientist who has actually studied the effect of tension on the body and mind at the University of Pittsburgh, tells SELF.
That’s not to say having stress and anxiety about this moment in history (or anything, truly) is your fault since you’re focusing on the wrong things. It’s human nature to hang out fretting about things we do not have control over because it means we can’t plan for any unfavorable results that could emerge from those situations, SELF previously explained
So, if you’re fighting fear around the election, welcome to the club. Here, Dr. Rabin and other mental health professionals share some insight into what they’re informing their customers who are terrified too.
1. Your feelings are valid.
Jeffery Cohen, Psy.D., a scientific psychologist and trainer of psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center, says that he intends to provide validation for his clients. “Using recognition, which is to interact that a person’s experience is understandable and makes sense, can assist reduce election tension,” Cohen informs SELF.
So, in case you do not have somebody in your life to say it, take it directly from him: “It makes sense to feel stressed out about the election. Lots of individuals are naturally feeling that method. This year’s election is occurring amid the COVID-19 pandemic and pandemic of bigotry and cops brutality.”
While your worries standing doesn’t imply you shouldn’t look for mental health support if they’re totally overwhelming your ability to take care of yourself, ideally you can discover a bit of comfort in the understanding that feeling horrified right now is, regrettably, an absolutely natural response.
2. You aren’t alone.
Dr. Rabin believes that, in addition to acknowledging their fears, it’s vital for individuals to understand that they’re not alone in them. “No matter who wins or loses the election, it’s going to be a psychological week for everybody, both great and bad. Even if your chosen candidate wins, that doesn’t suggest that you’re not going to feel some unfavorable emotions,” he states. “This runs out everyone’s hands, so it does not hurt to be prepared.”
What does being prepared look like? Excellent question …
3. Produce an Election Day (or week or month) method.
David Spiegel, M.D., a