6 Ways to Keep from Going Crazy as We Wait for the Election Results

I’m guilty.

I stayed up last night waiting for the good news.

I may have even woken early this morning in hopes of having answers to which direction this country likely will travel over the next four years.

Instead, I was met with "we’re close," and no definitive answer to how long it will take before this guessing game ends.


So how do we not lose our whole minds while we wait for these election results:

1.  Develop a thought battle plan. This is not the time to sit back and just let your mind wander to crazyland. We have to be proactive. The relationship between the thoughts we think and the emotions we feel is clear. Anxious thoughts will send the amygdala of the brain, which controls our emotions and fight or flight response into overdrive. To try and balance it out, we must think, even write down rational, less emotion-laden thoughts. One way we can do this is for every time you have a negative thought about the election, have a specific sentence you repeat to yourself. For example, every time you think, “I can’t believe this dude might actually win,” you commit to tell yourself, “This is not what I expected but I will...(be ok, continue to make impact in the areas I can, trust God that it will work out, etc). Or you can complete statements like, “no matter who wins, I am...,” or “no matter who wins, I can...," or "no matter who wins I will...” How you fill in the sentences is up to you. What’s most important is that you reframe your thoughts from what you CAN’T control to what you CAN. Taking back control over runaway thoughts can help reduce your feelings of panic and overwhelm.

2. Call your girlfriends (and do NOT talk about the election). If you can’t resist talking about the election, give yourself a set time to talk about it (like 20 minutes). Set a timer if you have to and move on to regular girlfriend gab. Maybe y’all agree to watch an episode of a show or a movie and call each other at a certain time to discuss it. Continually talking about the election won’t change its outcome but will likely fuel your internal negative emotions and dialogue. Talking with girlfriends is often so soothing for the soul.  We all can use this kind of healing experience today.

3.  Start moving. The evidence is clear on the natural benefits of exercise on mental health.  There is no disputing exercise, especially exercise that engages side to side movement like skating, yoga and walking can help quiet our anxious thoughts. Not feeling motivated? Call a friend, set a time to go for a virtual walk and talk to them on the phone as you walk. This is the time to phone in favors to friends.

4. Pray. Y’all this is a great time to pray. Even if your prayer life is a lil rusty, it really is like riding a bike. But just in case you need a little help. Here's one to get you started:

                     Quiet my heart, oh Lord
Give me peace where I feel the rumbling of uncertainty
Remind me of who You are
A God of healing and love
A God with total sovereignty over it all,
Who works everything together for my good.
Help remind me of Your truths in the midst of many falsehoods
I trust You to do what I can't
I ask that regardless the outcome that my hope and trust in you remain firm
So today I trust and lean in and know that you do all things well, Even elections.
I am in good hands
For If You be for me, who could possibly be against me.
In Jesus name.
5. Distract. Distract. Distract. Today is the day to do all the things you’ve been putting off until tomorrow. Bake the cookies, wash your hair, call the long lost friend, do the puzzle, play the game with family, read the book, get some sun, visit the museum, call the therapist. Do the thing. But whatever you do, do not sit in front of the tv or social media like you're waiting for the lone black person to die in the scary movie. Just don’t do it. While the 5 other ideas are healthier, desperate times may call for more desperate measures. Get away from the noise of the tv and social media.
6. Ask yourself the hard questions. "What are you really afraid of?" "What is the uncertainty of the election triggering for you?" Many times our anxieties are connected to core thoughts and beliefs that have been triggered.  Journal and try to understand your emotions, by continuing to ask yourself why are you feeling this way. What does it remind you of from the past? Some journal prompts to help could be, “I feel anxious about the election results because...” These feelings remind of a time in the past when....” Trust me, my goal is not to leave you in an emotional mess. In fact, after you get your feelings on paper, then reframe your feelings by challenging them and encouraging yourself.  Going back to step 1 above can give you some ideas. You can also end your journal entry by writing an encouraging prayer, an affirmation or even a Bible verse that encourages you to help place your feelings in perspective and give you hope.
There's no disputing this waiting game is tough. But the truth is any time we are in the middle of waiting for an answer over which we have not control it's challenging. We don't have to be reactive and wait until we get a election decision to take control of our thoughts. We can do that right now. Let’s not sit back and be a passenger in a battlefield of the mind when we have tools to help us win today.
Love you, praying for you and rooting for you

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