Focus on What Can You Control
According to a survey of 3,500 adults by the American Psychological Association, 55% of Democrats and 59% of Republicans say the 2016 presidential election is a significant source of stress. One thing that makes elections especially stressful is the fact that the outcome is beyond our control. Worrying about things we have no control over is one of the biggest sources of stress.
I am a worrier my nature, but I’ve been trying very hard to keep the serenity prayer in mind lately. “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” I alone cannot control the outcome of this election. Worrying about what will happen if things don’t turn out the way I’d like is a waste of my time and hurts my well-being.
But accepting the fact that I can’t control the outcome of the election doesn’t mean that I can’t do anything to make a difference. There are things that I can control that could have an impact on the election. I can donate my money, volunteer my time, and vote. Acceptance isn’t resignation; it is choosing to focus my thoughts and energy on what I can do, rather than wasting them worrying about what I can’t do. Recognizing what is outside of my control and accepting that allows me to dedicate my resources to that which I can control.
There will still be plenty to worry about when the election is over, regardless of who wins. But worry doesn’t help anyone, especially you. Accept that there are things you can’t control and focus instead on what you can do. You can’t keep it from raining on the parade, but you can bring an umbrella!