No one can deny the inherently tense nature of the 2016 election. According to the American Psychological Association’s survey conducted in August, more than half of Americans, regardless of party, felt a significant amount of stress about the election. To make matters worse, the outcome was disappointing and even triggering for many.
In the wake of so much uncertainty and fear, it is important to practice self-compassion. Dr. Kristin Neff asserts there are three components to self-compassion: mindfulness, common humanity, and self-kindness. These three components can help us heal and process the election results.
Mindfulness is commonly described as nonjudgmental observation of our thoughts and feelings. Pema Chodron, a Buddhist teacher, responded to the election’s results with mindfulness when he stated, “I’ve been meditating and getting in touch with a deep and profound sadness.” As opposed to pushing his feelings of grief away, he acknowledged them and nonjudgmentally accepted them.
Some ways to practice: Mindfulness doesn’t have to be complicated. Download the app Headspace, or simply be present when performing daily tasks, such as brushing your teeth.
Common humanity encompasses the understanding that no one is ever alone. For many people who have been affected by the election, it is important to remember that they are not alone in their hurt. As a human family, we belong to each other and can find solace and strength within each other.
Some ways to practice: Join the Safety Pin Movement to demonstrate solidarity. Donate time or money to a cause you support. Advocate for the marginalized.
Self-kindness is the final component of Kristin Neff’s model of self-compassion. Self-kindness is the practice of being gentle with yourself and treating yourself like you would your best friend. Self-care is a vital aspect of self-kindness. This doesn’t mean it’s always fun, but rather these are acts that help you heal.
Some ways to practice: Take a bath, go on a hike, eat chocolate or fresh greens.
So to summarize, self-compassion is one way to healthily process the election results. You can do this by feeling your feelings without judgement, remembering you are not alone, and taking good care of yourself in the meantime.
Peace and solace to all!