Election anxiety is eating us for breakfast. And lunch. You can hardly rest five minutes without being reminded to vote—for the fifty-third time. Lifelong friends threaten to unfriend each other (not just virtually) based on political views. Everyone is eager to share why you should assimilate to their opinion, and no one is eager to listen to an opposing idea.
The American Psychological Association recently reported that 68 percent of U.S. adults claim the presidential election is a significant source of stress. Compare this with 52 percent of adults in 2016 who shared the same sentiment. Regardless of party affiliation, citizens of the United States are experiencing heightened anxiety.
Anxiety and fear.
Anxiety can sever your sense of oneness with yourself, which in turn severs your sense of oneness with the divine and those around you. Left unchecked, anxiety can shroud your life in fear. Understanding the following facts about fear will help you reclaim your deeper connections that may have gotten lost in this political hurricane: your connections to yourself, the divine, and others.
Fear decreases when you connect to yourself.
Spending time with yourself is a simple way to mitigate fear. Cultivate your hobbies, meditate, or exercise. Once you are grounded, you can examine yourself. What is causing you stress, and how much of it can you control? Letting go of external worries will help you connect to and trust yourself, especially when it comes to your voting choices.
You can feel peace with your decision when you identify what matters most to you. Confront the big issues facing the population, on a local and a national scale. Envision what you want for the country and your life. Allow others’ opinions to fade as you search yourself for what resonates. Turning inward to find clarity will increase your faith and shatter your fear.
Fear decreases when you are properly informed.
Fake news is often created and shared to promote fear, especially during election time. Therefore, it’s smart to seek information from multiple, non-partisan, and reputable sources (TikTok doesn’t count). Get informed about the presidential candidates’ platforms, as well as the aims of your local representatives. Consider reducing your media consumption to avoid misleading information. Being properly informed can increase your confidence in your voting decisions and decrease your stress.
Fear decreases when you accept uncomfortable realities.
It is normal to feel anxiety during transition periods like an election (or a pandemic . . . or major social movements . . . or all three). We may not know who our president is for several days, or even weeks, after Election Day. Who you vote for may not be elected. Looking to a higher power can help you feel calm amidst the unknown. I’m of the opinion that the divine typically doesn’t meddle (i.e., it won’t sway the election one way or another) because it honors all people’s abilities to reason and make choices. However, it can teach you to live with uncomfortable realities. By drawing upon this higher power, you can feel peace despite uncertainty.
Uncertainty isn’t the only discomfort you must accept. People will disagree with your political views. Accepting this fact will protect your meaningful relationships with others. These outward connections enliven your spiritual wellness, and destroying them in the name of politics will only do harm. If you disagree with a friend or family member, ask them why they chose how they did—and listen to understand, not to invalidate. Trust that they have found peace in their decision, just as you have found peace in yours.
Faith can heal your election anxiety.
When you are connected to yourself, properly informed, and accepting of uncomfortable truths, you can live in faith instead of fear. Cultivating this attitude of faith will clear obstructions between you and your spirituality. You can make and maintain meaningful connections with yourself, your sense of divinity, and those around you. Whether you’re left, right, or upside-down, faith can ease your election anxiety.