In the aftermath of one of the most controversial and emotional U.S. presidential elections, there are at least half of Americans feeling angry, fearful and hopeless about the results. I’ve encountered people who are crying, popping pills and protesting to ease their pain. Given the deep wounds created over the last campaign year, healing will take time and a conscious effort.
If you’re in a funk because your candidate didn’t win, here are 7 ways to shift your emotions in a more positive direction.
1. Replace anger with acknowledgement
Anger is a natural reaction when expectations aren’t met, but holding on to anger too long will only hurt your health. As my Italian-born mother would say, it will give you “agita”. So, punch a pillow or scream at the top of your lungs, and get all that agita out of your system. Then take a deep breathe and accept that nothing can change the past. That doesn’t mean you have to like it, but you do have to acknowledge that what is…is.
2. Replace skepticism with trust
There’s been a lot of talk about corruption within our political system, and I have no doubt it exists and has probably existed at various levels since our nation was born. It is far from a perfect system, but it is still a democracy based on giving all adult citizens the right to vote. That process is what gave us our candidates and ultimately our president. Keep in mind that in a democracy, the president is not a dictator with full reign to do whatever he wants. Regain your trust in our democratic process.
3. Replace blame with action
When you complain and blame, you’re either preaching to the choir or falling on deaf ears—neither one is a productive use of your time. A more positive strategy going forward would be to take action on those issues that are most important to you, your family and your community. As these issues come up during the next four years, let your voice be heard by writing letters to your Congressperson or Senator, signing petitions, voting and supporting candidates aligned with your beliefs.
4. Replace stagnation with movement
If you’ve ever been in an auto accident or have lost a loved one, you know how shock feels. It’s immobilizing. Yet while you’re in a standstill, the sun continues to come up every day, and life goes on. Eventually, your life will too. While it may be hard to imagine, the shock will diminish over time. If you want to kick start the process, start getting back to life and work as usual.
5. Replace fixation with release
If you’re caught in a continuous loop of negative thoughts, words and actions relative to the election, snap out of it by letting go! Stop talking about it. Change the channel in your head from CNN to Disney, or whatever creates happy emotions for you. By redirecting your focus, you’ll be able to jump off the insanity-induced cycle of hate and anger.
6. Replace judgment with understanding
Judgment separates. Understanding unifies. Every person has the right to their own opinion or belief system. It doesn’t mean you have to agree with them, but you can and should respect their rights. This understanding is the foundation America was built upon. Division, whether it’s among the people or within the government only serves to weaken and destroy a nation.
7. Replace worry with faith
The future is unpredictable; it can change in an instant. Worry is an emotion that projects fear about the future. Faith is an emotion that projects hope. It’s your choice. Wouldn’t your life be more pleasant and less stressful if you expected the best instead of the worst? As we’ve seen in this election, anything is possible!
Inspiring personal growth, professional success and positive change. Author of The Goddess of Happiness, Vita’s Will and Note to Self: Love (Book & Screenplay). Lover of food, fashion, fitness, funky music, dogs, dancing, cooking, laughter and anything Italian.