Coping with the 2016 Presidential Election

In the weeks and months preceding the 2016 Presidential Election, many aspects of the political race contributed to people's feelings of anxiety, persecution, and depression. The election's outcome has continued to be a contributing factor in clients' poor mental health. In light of this, I have created a list of techniques and resources one might consider when coping with election fallout.

Please note: This information is meant to supplement medical and therapeutic assistance, not replace it. If you or someone you know requires additional assistance, please feel free to Contact Us, your nearest hospital emergency room, or one of the help/crisis lines listed below. 

Thank you, and be kind to one another. 

Natasha Lewis-Grinwis, LMSW, CST

Coping with Emotional Distress Following the Election

Deep Breathing
Benefit: This way of engaging in brief self-care helps control excessive stress responses, detoxifies the body and bloodstream, releases tension throughout muscles, and increases endorphins (feel good brain chemicals). 
How: Breath into your abdomen, not just your chest. Sit up straight or lie down. Breathe air in for a count of 5, hold for a count of 3, and letting it out for a count of 5.

Benefit: Science shows us that laughter helps with stress in the following ways: by relaxing the whole body, boosting the immune system, triggering the release of endorphins, reducing anger, increase the oxygen in your body, improve heart, lung, and muscle health, and soothe physical tension. 
How: Watch stand-up comedians, look for websites that feature humorous anecdotes or cartoons, do internet searches for ‘funniest online videos.’ Be creative and be willing to look outside of yourself. 

Help Other People
Benefit: By focusing on the well-being of others, you distract yourself from your own unhappiness, stress, and anger.
How: Research shows us that small acts of kindness work as well as major demonstrations. Try volunteering to be the designated driver. Cook for a friend or neighbor who would appreciate your efforts. Hold the door open for other people. Help someone you know with chores. 

Emotional Flow Tool
Benefit: By using it, you will expand your emotional range and insight, learn about the other emotions you are experiencing, and reduce stress. This is a technique you can use internally, via writing, or by speaking out loud.
How: Express 1 to 10 anger statements using words that feel natural to you. Then express 1 statement for feelings of sadness, fear, and guilt. Finally, come up with 1 statement for feelings of gratefulness, happiness, security, and pride. Rate your level of anger/sadness/distress before and after this exercise.
Anger statements: 
I feel angry that…
I can’t stand it that…
I feel furious that…
I hate it that…
(up to 10)

I feel sad that…
I feel afraid that…
I feel guilty that…

I feel grateful that…
I feel happy that…
I feel secure that…
I feel proud that…

Contact a Help/Support Line
GLBTQUIA National Healthline: (888)843-4564
Hope Line: (800)394-HOPE (3673)
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): (800)950-NAMI (6264)
National Eating Disorders Support Line: (800)931-9474
Planned Parenthood Hotline: (800)230-PLAN (7526)
Project Inform HIV/AIDS Hotline: (800)822-2273
Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network (RAINN) Line: (800)656-HOPE (4673)
STD Hotline: (800)227-8922
Suicide Prevention Line: (800)273-TALK (8255)
Veterans Crisis Line: (800)273-8255 (press 1)