Over the past week, a lot of discussion has focused on the scientific fact that half the United States population is experiencing anxiety over the 2016 presidential election. With the never ending coverage on cable news networks combined with the social media hot topic that it is, those who can’t turn off the television or stop checking their Facebook account feel overwhelmed by it.
For those who are losing sleep over the election or feel that the stress is too much to wake up to in the morning, I say this: Relax.
It is no secret, I have loved following the presidential election this year. I have annoyed my wife with my enthusiasm for watching political talk shows and staying up to watch all the conventions/debates/campaign speeches live. For me, it has been a lot of fun. However, I have not allowed it to consume my life with anxiety.
When I was younger, I based a good day on whether my favorite sports team won or lost. I was convinced that the players on my team were the good guys, the players on the other team were the bad guys, the opposing fans were “deplorables,” the referees were always against us, and the game itself was life or death. By the time I turned about 14, I decided to broaden my worldview just a little bit.
In the way that I used to think about sports, many today think about politics, especially the 2016 presidential election. When someone, especially an adult with responsibilities, puts so much energy on the outcome of an election, is it really that surprising that they might develop some anxiety? Hardly.
Look, I know there is a lot at stake in this election. I know many of us directly identify with one candidate. I know many of us despise another candidate. In the heat of the moment, which is pretty much right now in mid-October, it feels like this election is everything. However, we must realize that life will go on after November 8.
Yes, someone will win the presidency and someone will not. Thus, according to polls, half the people in this country will be able happy with the outcome and the other half will not. But to the half that loses, whatever side that might end up being, please keep this in mind: You will still live in the best country on the planet, you will still have every right to believe in your political views, and you can rest assured there will still be checks and balances on the person who is elected president.
Don’t get yourself worked up to the point of anxiety over these next few weeks. How can you do this? Well, for starters, you don’t need to respond to someone on Twitter who has a different viewpoint. You don’t need to become so angry at a network that seems to lean a certain way. You don’t need to watch the opposing candidate’s stump speech to the point that your blood boils. You don’t need to read the editorial section of the newspaper. You don’t need to do anything that will bring you right in the middle of this bitter, crazy election.
Seriously, there is no need to feel anxiety over the presidential election. Take a step back and breathe. Then, take measures to limit yourself from the mediums that will start to trigger your boiling point. Remember, one of the greatest aspects of this beautiful country, the election of our president, is about to take place. Instead of letting it make us sick, how about we allow it to make us proud? Don’t Blink.