10 Tips for Coping with Feelings After the Election

This week has stirred up a lot of emotions for just about everybody. For many, it can be hard to process the feelings that are coming up, especially when feeling disappointed, hopeless, or threatened. Here are some tips for dealing with these emotions:

1. Give yourself space to feel what you're feeling.

No matter what that is. Try to check in with yourself, ask yourself how you are feeling, and give that feeling some space to exist, without guilt or wishing you could change it. Your feelings are valid. While feelings may be uncomfortable, they are not permanent,

2. Try writing about how you feel.

Research shows that writing about how you feel can make you feel better. Set aside a few minutes to start writing out your feelings or thoughts. No one else has to see it.

3. Practice self-compassion.

Start with 5 minutes. Acknowledge the stress in your life or your physical discomfort. Acknowledge that "this is a moment of suffering" or "this hurts." Recognize that you are not alone in these feelings. Put your hand over your heart and say to yourself: "May I be kind to myself. May I give myself the compassion that I need, May I be strong, May I be patient.”

4. Meditate.

Whatever this means for you. Take some time for yourself. Focus on this present moment, anchoring to the present by focusing on your breath, sounds, physical sensations, textures, etc. Alternatively, find guided meditations online or take a yoga class.

5. Take good care of yourself.

This doesn't mean eat junk food. Try to eat nutritive, healthy foods. Don't eat out of boredom or stress. Prioritize adequate sleep and exercise--these both have profound positive physiological impacts on well-being. Spend time with supportive others. Make an appointment with a therapist to get some empathic support or sort out your feelings in a safe space and find more adaptive ways to cope.

6. Look for the good.

Look for the people who are coming together, who are supporting one another, who are making a positive difference in the world.

coping with post-election stress

7. Be the good.

Focus on your personal values around what type of person/citizen/community member/friend you want to be. What causes do you care most about? How can you support those causes? Options include making a monetary or in-kind donation, volunteering your time or other resources, or sending a letter of support.

8. Be sensitive to what others are feeling.

Be respectful that other people may be experiencing different feelings and reactions from your own. Try to be sensitive to that, and see what others in your community are needing. Have an open mind. Think about how you may be able to offer support.

9. Take a break from social media & news.

There are a lot of triggering messages on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms. Ask yourself whether it is more helpful or hurtful to see these messages. Avoid news that might be speculating doom and gloom. Remember that there is no way to predict exactly what is going to unfold. Seek alternative sources of information, inspiration, or humor. Examples include goodnewsnetwork.org, mindful.org; theonion.com. Funny or cute YouTube videos never hurt!

10. Refrain from Blame. Set your sights on forgiveness.

You might not be there yet, and that's ok. Take your time with how you're currently feeling. For now, be open to moving towards forgiveness in the future. Forgiveness doesn't mean turning a blind eye to others' hurtful or aggressive behaviors. It means making a decision to live with less anger and resentment in your own heart.

What else have you been doing to unpack or process feelings you've been having? Make a suggestion in comments below!

References & Resources:

1. http://ggia.berkeley.edu/practice/self_compassion_break#

2. https://goo.gl/NLgtjA

3. https://goo.gl/WUb1Im

4. http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_to_talk_with_your_kids_about_donald_trump

5. https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2016/11/09/river-anxiety-runs-through-mass-wake-election-psychologists-say/zDrftrXSykttmC8jBRHCCI/story.html

6. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/what-should-we-tell-the-children_us_5822aa90e4b0334571e0a30b

7. https://www.tarabrach.com/talks-audio-video/

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