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Managing Stress—And Being Cordial—During A Contentious Election Year

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I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but there’s been some buzz lately about an upcoming election. With Trump, Clinton and even a potential third party candidate battling to become our next commander-in-chief, I can guarantee there will be lots more anger and unrest in America in the months to come.

It’s important to advocate on behalf of our political beliefs, but it must be done respectfully. Given all the noise and the uncertain future an election year brings, how can we manage our stress and keep from offending people we care about? Well, wouldn’t you know it, I happen to have some thoughts on that.

 How to manage political anxiety

  1. The sun will come out! Tomorrow!

A little perspective can do wonders for the anxiety you’re feeling. People you have endorsed with your vote have lost an election before, but the sun always rose the next day. Life went on, and it will go on when the 2016 race has run.

  1. Remember that the president doesn’t have ultimate power.

Pop quiz. Can you name the three branches of U.S. government? The president is not part of all three, but merely one of them. The Legislative and Judicial branches help to ensure that one person doesn’t have too much control.

  1. Unplug.

Feeling stressed about the election? Now is not the time for Facebook. Get a good sweat going at the gym, spend some quality time with your family or head outdoors and breathe deep. The news is manufactured to exaggerate what’s actually happening, and things are never as bad as the media says. Stepping away from it for a bit is remarkably useful.

How to be a good conversationalist

  1. Challenge yourself to see other stances.

Now, I’m not saying you should switch sides. I’m just asking, is it possible the other side has some valid points? Is it possible that your candidate isn’t the second coming?

  1. Remember the priorities.

Even if you’re with friends and family, political arguments can get heated quickly, usually because there’s nothing that can be said the two sides can agree on. As a result, the volume only goes up. So remind yourself, “This issue will not be solved in this room. This argument is not important, but this relationship is important. What can I do in this moment to protect our relationship?”

  1. Be calm. Be a great listener.

It’s a wonderful little irony that not many people know: The better you listen and the more respectful you are, the more receptive someone will be to seeing your side.