Regardless of whom you voted for in the 2016 Presidential election, there is one thing we all can agree on: the process was terribly stressful! For the past year people have been heated on social media, blocking and un-friending those on “the other side,” arguing within their families, and fighting with their spouses. Now that the election is over, half of America is feeling the stress associated with loss. Dr. Sanam Hafeez, a NYC licensed clinical psychologist and the founder and Clinical Director of Comprehensive Consultation Psychological Services, shares shares the signs of Post-Election Stress Disorder and how to manage its symptoms.
Your stomach is in knots! According to Dr. Hafeez, stressing out about the future of our country can certainly manifest in physical discomfort. When you ruminate about the worst-case scenario it can lead to stomach tension, nausea and lack of appetite. She advises taking a break from news coverage and discussion of the election results. “You want to be informed but YOU want to be in control of the news you are seeking out. Select one media outlet that you want to get your news from. Check in the morning and then focus on what you have to do that day.”
You can’t focus! Your mind wanders and you keep worrying about the next four years of your life. These wandering thoughts lead to a lack of focus. Dr. Hafeez explains that when we are fixated on a thought and are in a state of worry, it is difficult to give full attention to anything else. Her advice is to decompress — going for a thirty minute walk, exercising, meditating by lying still and focusing on your breath, coloring in a coloring book or playing catch with a ball. “You want to choose tasks that are repetitive, pleasurable, calming and don’t require a lot of focus,” she suggests. (more…)