Presidential Election & Emotional Wellness

trump-and-clinton-straight-facedOctober is Emotional Wellness Month and ends just before the Presidential election. We have 33 days to go, which doesn’t leave Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump much time to prepare. Hearing a plethora of divisive rhetoric heading into the final month often feels like a Fellini film. We watch it unfold, wondering is this all a fantasy.

Are you stressed out by the campaign of unpopular nominees in a tight race for the most powerful office in the world? A lot of Americans voters claim they don’t like either candidate. Some no longer recognize the party they’ve always affiliated with while others say they refuse to settle for politics as usual. Our country seems to be experiencing collective mixed emotions. Complaining of frustration, anger, sadness, fear or malaise, too many may just stay home and not vote at all.

There were repercussions after the first Presidential debate. The Republican nominee spiraled down with personal attacks on a former Miss Universe as well as negative tweets in response to poor performance reviews. And the Democratic candidate’s reference – in a leaked fundraiser audio – to Millennials “who live in their parents’ basement” resulted in the cancellation of a joint appearance with her former primary opponent. Bernie Sanders admitted that “of course” it bothered him that she seemed to talk down to his supporters.

Who doesn’t feel like we’re losing our civility as we shake our heads in disbelief? And where is emotional wellness when we need it? The candidates have been described as unfiltered, hardheaded and impulsive or dishonest, defensive and critical. They’re shouting over each other, neither being heard nor listening. Hardworking Americans, struggling to survive, feel neglected in their own country. The disenfranchised have become anti-establishment, some even homeless. So many people don’t trust the candidates, expecting they’ll let them down.

The discouragement is palpable. And our mutual need to join together and find peace of mind is greater than ever. What is emotional wellness? Coping with stress, moving through and beyond anger, making positive choices, maintaining control, adjusting to change, managing emotions in healthy ways, being honest, facing challenges directly. Presidential candidates Clinton and Trump have the capability to enhance these qualities for themselves and for the good of all.

The great recession may be over but the economy is still struggling. This is a difficult and painful time for our nation. Let’s try to begin listening and building trust. Let’s think about how can we develop empathy for the other side and practice reconciliation. We’ll certainly become stronger as one. It’s time we work across the aisle and come together to create change. Let’s develop America’s team, with the potential to alter the direction of our country.

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