No matter where you live in the world, you may have strong emotions about the recent U.S. election. Millions of those living in the United States have expressed intense frustration, anger, rage, disbelief, depression, despair, anxiety, fear, and pessimism. Others feel joy and extreme optimism about the future now that Donald Trump has won.
Today’s headlines about possible Russian interference in the election has stunned many people while others seemingly feel indifferent or complacent about that ominous possibility. Another bombshell story indicates that the Energy department has asked for the names of civil servants, including prominent scientists who may have published works on climate change and/or belong to certain professional societies and organizations. The new administration is also apparently inquiring about what conferences that these scientists may have attended. Many feel that Big Brother is watching, as in the novel, 1984.
Whatever positive or negative emotions you’re experiencing, most likely the events of the past few months have surprised, if not shocked, almost everyone. Shock is fine for a while; blindness or paralysis—not so much. Almost every emotion taken to excess leads to bad outcomes—even unbridled joy and optimism. These so-called positive emotions can blind you to real threats and a closed mind. On the other hand, despair, hopelessness, and bleak pessimism can shut you down and immobilize you. We have a few suggestions, no matter which end of the continuum you fall.
- Give up your diet and exercise program. Eat as much ice cream as physically possible; consume copious quantities of alcohol; indulge in drug abuse. OK, maybe NOT!
- Resist the temptation to wallow in your negative emotions or, for that matter, gloat about your positive reactions. The former will cause you to fail at seeing what you can do to remain vigilant and active in tackling what you consider to be justifiable concerns. The latter will distract you from seeing potential hazards that just could lie ahead. Neither extreme works very well.
- Take care of your health. Exercise, maintain a reasonably healthy diet, and don’t sit around too much—stay active.
- Don’t watch TV or surf the Internet to excess—doing so may temporarily feel good, but it has great potential to further exacerbate your emotions.
- Realize that no matter how convinced you are of what the future will hold, you don’t really know. Life is too unpredictable for any of us to hold all the answers.
- Concentrate on living your life to the fullest. Take actions when you can and avoid extremes whenever possible.
Photo Credit: Jean-Francois Altero