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How to Cope with the 2016 Presidential Election Results …if your candidate didn’t win

| November 15, 2016
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Depression, Anxiety, Hopelessness

You may be feeling a wide range of intense emotions right now… shock, sadness, anger, fear, disappointment, feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, etc. as a result of the election outcome. Many people may be experiencing feelings of grief in response to the election results. Be kind to yourself and keep in mind that it may take some time to process your feelings and thoughts about the election.

Remember that there are millions of people in our country who are likely experiencing similar feelings to those you are experiencing. This can provide some comfort. Reach out to others who are experiencing what you are to help process your thoughts and feelings about the election.

Other ways to cope:

1. Distract yourself in positive ways.
--Spend time on your hobbies or other activities you enjoy.
--Do something kind for others (e.g., pay a compliment to someone, smile at a stranger, let someone go ahead of you in line, give blood, etc.).

  1. Focus on what you *can* control.
    --Be proactive! Take action and get involved with organizations whose mission and purpose you feel strongly about and want to advance (e.g., supporting the rights of women, racial or ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, the LGBT community, etc.).
  2. Avoid news and social media.
    --Watching the news or spending a lot of time on social media may fuel the unwanted feelings you have right now.
    --Think twice before posting comments on social media that may strain relationships.
  3. Express your feelings, don’t bottle them up.
    --As mentioned above, talk to other people who are experiencing similar feelings to what you are feeling, or write your thoughts and feelings down in a journal.
  4. Stick to your routines.
    --Maintaining a sense of normalcy will help you get back to feeling like yourself sooner.
  5. Get exercise.
    --This helps reduce stress and improve your mood.
  6. Take time to relax.
    --Do yoga, meditate, spend time in nature, or use other relaxation techniques.
  7. Think about everything you are thankful for, what is going well in your life.
    --Get a head start on Thanksgiving!
  8. Learn more about Trump’s proposed policies and plans.
    --In a few weeks after you’ve come more to terms with the reality that Trump will be the next president, start getting informed about his proposed policies and plans. This may help to answer questions you have, and having knowledge about something, even if it is something we perceive as unpleasant or negative, can help to reduce anxiety about it.
  9. Keep things in perspective.
    --Remember that there are checks and balances in our political system. We live in a democracy; this is not a dictatorship.

*Some good quotes to remember:

“…This loss hurts but please never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it.”
--Hillary Clinton (11.9.16 concession speech)

“Now, I know we have still not shattered that highest and hardest glass ceiling, but some day, someone will, and hopefully sooner than we might think right now. And to all the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams.”
--Hillary Clinton (11.9.16 concession speech)

“When they go low, we go high.”
--Michelle Obama

Seth Meyers also made a good point on his late night show Wednesday night (11.9.16). He talked about how he is feeling sadness, anger and fear as a result of the outcome of the election, but he reminded himself that Trump supporters have likely been experiencing the same feelings and that is what prompted them to vote the way they did. This can help us feel empathy (not anger or hatred) toward those who did not vote the way we did.

Dana Grote, Ph.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist with 18 years experience in psychological assessment and psychotherapy.  She is the Director of Psychological Services at College Living Experience in Denver, Colorado.

(Sources: www.psychologytoday.com, www.newsy.com, www.elle.com, www. cosmopolitan.com)

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