During the days after the ’16 election, I was like many Americans: upset, depressed, fearful, scared about the future, and angry at those stumblebums who voted against my candidate, all 59 million of them.
It didn’t help when I got on Facebook on the morning after the election and saw sugary platitudes about extending an olive branch, posted by friends who just the day before had posted the most vile, nasty messages about my beloved candidate. I hated those two-faced Facebookers.
And then that evening, November 9, there were thousands of angry Americans taking to the streets to protest president-elect Donald Trump. I wanted to join them, to lead them.
I entered a sleepless night of pounding heart, soaring blood pressure and plunging depression from thoughts of fear and dread for the future.
But suddenly, between sheet-tangled gasps for calming air, I had two epiphanies.
First, there are hordes of Trump supporters just as bitter at my candidate as I am at theirs. And their lifestyles have probably been just as adversely impacted as mine.
Secondly, and most importantly, I realized I had to get over it. And so does every American. We’re in for the proverbial long haul, the next four years. Do we really want to feel bitter and angry with other Americans through all of that time? The answer, of course, is no.
So I took to the Internet and gathered in advice from knowledgeable psychiatrists, mental health specialists and others. I boiled down their thoughts to five easy ways to get over election anxiety:
1. As hard as it might seem to do, stay off Facebook and Twitter for a short while, and for a little bit of time limit your viewing of online and TV news about the election. It’s too easy for digital messages to drill into the core of our thoughts and play havoc with our attitudes.
2. Create a positive inner message—a mantra, if you will—to use when your attitude turns bleak. My new inner message: “Things will work out. Be patient. Things will work out.”
3. Purposely reshape your thinking about change. Most of us despise change, but we’re likely to be faced with a lot of change in the coming years. Replace thoughts of doom with: Change can be good, change can be good.
4. Don’t do anything drastic. Criticizing a person for how she or he cast a vote is an easy way to lose friends and gain a sour reputation for yourself. Once harsh words are spoken, it’s impossible to take them back.
5. This last gem came from my wife Patty, a much wiser person than I am: Pray for Mr. Trump and America. I’d like to add, if you have doubts about the existence of a Higher Power, look at prayer as a form of visualization: It can help reshape our attitudes and, I hopefully think, it may have positive impact on the Big Cosmos of America.
These are all good pieces of advice. It’s not to say, however, that you should not stay abreast of politics in the future. You should always be politically aware and work for positive improvements in America.
But, for now, remember, life goes on. Change can be good. Pray. Visualize. Be patient. Things will work out.