How to take care of your mental health in the aftermath of the election

How to take care of your mental health in the aftermath of the election
High-stakes elections, such as the presidential election that just occurred in america, may take a toll on the mental health of voters. We spoke to a specialist to get tips on how to deal in the aftermath.

A recent study that people covered on Medical News Today found that, following the 2016 U.S. presidential election, people who had backed the losing applicant experienced more days of poor mental health over another month than in the month prior to the election.

Based on those findings, the researchers cautioned that this year’s presidential election may also have a toll on voters’ mental health, particularly given that it took place throughout a pandemic - another factor that is affecting people’s well-being.

“Healthcare providers may potentially help patients in the 2020 election by monitoring for clinically relevant signs of mental health deterioration and offering appropriate support and intervention,” the study authors advised prior to the election.

But what can individuals do to mitigate the possible mental health impact of the election’s aftermath?

MNT asked Dr. Matthew Boland, Ph.D. - a certified clinical psychologist located in Reno, NV - to share some coping strategies and constructive ways forward.

‘Limit exposure to the election information’
“In times when ‘our team’ will not win an election, we can often fixate on those difficult results and the sadness, anger, and/or frustration we feel in response to them,” Dr. Boland told MNT.

“However, there are a few methods to help ourselves shift our focus from the results,” he added.

“First, limit exposure to the election information, or take it only in small doses (e.g., five minutes per day). Second, take part in enjoyable activities that provide you meaning or capture your attention to focus attention from constant thoughts about it. Third, speak openly about the stress you are feeling about the election results with others who are trusted resources of support, but limit how much you talk about the actual results themselves or why you dislike the candidates who won or their political positions.”

- Dr. Matthew Boland, Ph.D.

There is scientific evidence to recommend that such strategies do work. Past research has displayed that exposure to negative news cycles can worsen a person’s mood and exacerbate personal worries. Therefore, cutting down on media consumption could help prevent or mitigate that impact.

A longitudinal study from 2014 showed that there is a link between participating in activities a person deems meaningful and reporting an improved quality of life.

Past research has also proven that the more we make an effort to hide and ignore signs of stress, anxiety, or depression, the worse our mental health gets.

To break the vicious cycle, it is vital to acknowledge negative feelings and moods, allowing ourselves to sit with them for some time instead of pushing them away.

Tags :
Share This News On: