Together, Not Divided

political divide, political stress, election cycle

The election has stressed out over half of American adults and it has caused a political divide in our country. But now, after over a year of angst and arguments, the 2016 election cycle (and the political stress) is finally over. Whether you are elated or disappointed by the results, it’s now time that we come together as a nation.

Political passion can be a great benefit to our community. With strong activism, we can raise awareness about a variety of issues that are normally ignored by mainstream politics. However, this passion can also poison personal relationships. Political stress is leading to heated debates at the dinner table, in the office, and, of course, online. Facebook reports that there have been 5.3 billion likes, posts, comments, and shares about the election over the first nine months of this year alone. All of this tension has led to strife between family members, friends, and coworkers.

Various polls and surveys from universities, the Pew Research Center, and the American Psychological Association have been following these trends. Forty-one percent of spouses who were voting for different candidates fought about the election. Seven percent of poll participants said that they lost a friend due to the presidential race. Twenty percent of American workers said they avoided a coworker due to their political views and more than ten percent said they now have a negative view of said coworker.

Political Stress Tips for Healing the Political Divide

With November 8, 2016, finally passed us, we can work together to make this country a better place. Need help reaching across the aisle? Listed below are three Mindful tips that may help us all find peace.

  • Listen. During a political election, people become adept at voicing their own opinions, but they hardly take the time to listen to those on the other side of the political spectrum, to people who are different from them. The only way we can come together is by listening to each other—that’s why mindful listening is so important.
  • Empathize. Trying to understand the emotions that someone else is experiencing can be tough, but when you try it can help build stronger relationships. Remember, while you listen and empathize, you don’t have to agree. You can agree to disagree. Sympathizing with the fear, anger, pride, joy, or whatever emotion they’re feeling post-election can deepen your capacity for compassion and help heal rifts.
  • Learn. This presidential election cycle was brutal, and this is something that Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, and Green Party members can all agree with. Let’s take 2016 as a lesson. From now on let’s strive to do better. We were meant for better things as a community and as a nation.