How Hillary Clinton supporters can cope with post-election stress

NOVEMBER 8, 2016 STONE MOUNTAIN 7:12:42 AM DeKalb County voters go to the polls on Election Day at the Crossroads Presbyterian Church in Stone Mountain, Tuesday November 8, 2016. They join voters across the country in choosing a President, and other elected officials in local and statewide races. KENT D. JOHNSON / KDJOHNSON@AJC.com

This presidential race between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton was one of the most contentious in recent history.

After a stressful year, Donald Trump is the 45th president of the United States.

Trump supporters across the country celebrated the results while the mood among Clinton supporters can only be described as shock and awe.

Read More: Trump stuns with win over Clinton

Americans who voted for Clinton may find the stress of this presidential election is only just beginning.

How do you cope if your candidate has lost? What should you do if a close friend or relative is a rabid supporter of a president that you don’t like?

For starters, you can watch videos like this one:

Americans have cited this presidential race as more stressful than any other election. In a recent Harris Poll conducted for the American Psychological Association, 52 percent of American adults 18 or older said the 2016 election is a very or somewhat significant source of stress. And in this case, the stress is equal opportunity.

“We’re seeing that it doesn’t matter whether you’re registered as a Democrat or Republican — U.S. adults say they are experiencing significant stress from the current election,” said Lynn Bufka, PhD, APA’s associate executive director for practice research and policy in a statement.

Among adults registered as Democrats, 55 percent cited this election as very or somewhat stress inducing compared to 59 percent of adults registered as Republicans.

The stress is only intensified by our use of social media. The political discussions that have erupted on social media have been a source of stress for 38 percent of adults. Online arguments and stories have divided friends and family and led to political unfriending.

Related: Atlanta forgiveness expert explains how to stop the political unfriending

Different generations report different levels of election related stress. Millennial and Matures say they are feeling more stressed than GenXers and Boomers.

We want our presidential candidates to be the best reflection of ourselves, said Dr. Pete Sulack, Founder of StressRX.com. When they fall short, it leaves us feeling confused and can trigger fight, flight or frozen response to stress.

People who say “Trump will never be my president” reflect the fight response. Those who say they are moving to Canada have a flight response. And anyone who refused to vote because they don’t trust either candidate is among the frozen.

election-stress-generationsFor some Americans, the end of the election could be the beginning of the most damaging kind of stress — the kind that lasts for years.

“A little bit of stress is good thing, more stress starts to complicate things,” said Dr. Sulack.

Chronic stress can diminish your immune system, trigger high blood pressure, lead to obesity, premature aging and even cancer, he said. The key is to find ways to normalize that stress.

“Feelings come and go but we cannot continue to base our lives on our feelings,” said Dr. Sulack. Instead of feeling angry about the election results, take a deep breath and follow these three steps:

Unplug: don’t spend so much time watching the circus on television or reading comments about it on social media.

Unwind: get adequate rest and spend time relaxing. Make it a priority to invest in yourself.

Undo: help combat the effects of stress by eating healthy foods and developing other healthy habits. Instead of isolating yourself, connect with other people. Helping others in your community or supporting a cause you believe is a good way to normalize election induced stress.

With holiday season coming up, you may find yourself in the company of friends or relatives who don’t share your political opinions. According to Dr. Sulack, you have three choices: ignore them, engage them (though that rarely ends well) or give them grace.

“Understand that people have different opinions and values,” said Dr. Sulack. “Aristotle said, ‘It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.'”

So maybe we can all learn to extend a little grace not only to our immediate family but to our American family.

“We have had a lot of elections in our country,” said Dr. Sulack. “We are American. So let’s unify in what we are.”

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Reader Comments 0

201 comments
Tay Matemale
Tay Matemale

Yes, withdrawal and disconnect from the government teat is a difficult thing when one has to now become personally responsible for ones self..

Bill Mullen
Bill Mullen

Get a job that will get your mind off worrying about it

Ronald Shearn
Ronald Shearn

Get ready for war....slavemasters against the children of slaves you been wanting a war after our labor build this country now you want a white country you want to kill Blacks. Americans ...the true owners of this country native Americans. ..Hispanics....Asian Americans....Muslim. Americans. ...Indians Americans. ...Americans. Jews....we will fight you we know who you are take off your sheets we will be waiting.....

Charlene Scott
Charlene Scott

Been coping since 2/8/52, the day I was born. And this too shall pass!!!!

Joan Ellen Six
Joan Ellen Six

Post-election stress? Have we become this stupid? You get up, you go to work and you thank God that you live in the USA.

Connie Gutierrez-Juarez
Connie Gutierrez-Juarez

Get over it!!! Time to move on. Put all the energy towards your job, your family and yourself

Terry Williams
Terry Williams

Get over it we suffered for eight years stop whining

Keri Bolton Van Sickle
Keri Bolton Van Sickle

My question--how many of those who seem to be hysterical or those who are destroying property and hurting others, actually worked and/or contributed to Hillary? How many acquired information on candidates positions from Hollywood celebs, and musicians? I think I know he answer.

Pamela Harms
Pamela Harms

We really need to know how to counter the attacks on our Muslim and immigrant friends. Also, a sexual predator is in the White House, does that legitimize rape? His campaign manager says women need to be stronger so they don't get raped. Trump is an ally of Putin. There are so many things wrong with this, Brenda Smart-Robling and Garret M. Russo. It is more than a matter of coping.

Marc Chessler
Marc Chessler

Step One: Grow Up...in life you win some and lose some......

Ronald E Ferris
Ronald E Ferris

WHY DID THEY CRY THAT KILLARY LOST.? LOOK OUT FOR WHAT HAPPENED IN GERMANY THAT THE WILD ANIIMAL MUSLIM MEN RAPE ANY GIRLS AND WOMEN AND THEN NEXT TO OUR COUNTRY IF KILLARY WINS !!!! HOW SO? THINK TWICE ABOUT IT.

Mike Blatt
Mike Blatt

Trump train gonna haul out liberals!!!!!!!!

Linda Daehn
Linda Daehn

Who care grow up trump trump trump trump trump trump trump is here now

Roderick A. Meadows
Roderick A. Meadows

I've been angry and sad long enough. What's done is done. My coping game plan:Just look forward to 2020 and try to live life as best as you can. Surround yourself with friends, family, good music and literature. Ignore the hateful-don't allow them to steal your power. Travel to other parts of the world, learn new things. Tough times won't last always.

Garrick Boo White
Garrick Boo White

Let a white mf call me out my name and see what happens , go to my page and you figure it out

Katie Hosey
Katie Hosey

Grow up, get a job and quit being babies.

Ind E Ko
Ind E Ko

Get a weed card or. I've to a recreational state.

Ashley Garner
Ashley Garner

I wake up the next morning, go to my job or whatever. Doesn't bother me, do what I can to build a good life. I don't cry like a baby or set buildings on fire I tell ya that

Jason Smith
Jason Smith

Can someone bottle up the tears \U0001f62d I need gun lubricant.

John Smith
John Smith

A bullet to the head will ease the pain..

Luang Tom
Luang Tom

Pull up yer big boy or girl shorts and move on. Geez....just how did half of the nation cope when the Kenyan won twice?

Barbara Murphy Kleese
Barbara Murphy Kleese

Try scrap booking, or start knitting some scarves for the Winter. You might read to the elderly in nursing homes. Planting a garden of cold hardy veggies would be productive. Chop firewood. Build a chicken coop and raise chickens. Rake leaves - your own and a shut in neighbor. I'll go work on a list and get back to you.

Buck Smith
Buck Smith

They should all kill themselves, Suicide is the answer

Pat Alley
Pat Alley

You pray and ask God to help you and realize everything can't and doesn't always go your way! It's like that with many things school, work or career plans, marriage etc. it may be a little hard but God loves you and if you ask him he will help you!❤️

Eva Doyle
Eva Doyle

Yep do not worry she is going to be alright and u all is going to be alright also now we have to pray very hard and hope these four years go by real quick

Linda Nelson
Linda Nelson

As far as I know the republicans have not HIRED protestors to destroy and burn down communities and I hope they NEVER stoop that LOW, I was disappointed but I didn't act like a fool

Janet Saxbury
Janet Saxbury

Is the First Election Ever? This is the way folks are acting!

Michael Turner
Michael Turner

Polls suggest a large number of white women voted for Trump.

Louise Johnson
Louise Johnson

Simple God is in control, Trump may be the wake up call needed to stir us up. Instead of assuming everything is ok...... get involved in every election from dog catcher to president.