news-category: National Interest

GWU Assistant Professor Offers Tips for Coping with Election Anxiety

A graphic illustration listing the tips for coping with election anxiety and stress

Dr. Lorell Gordon Suggests Practicing Self-Care and Recalling Favorite Scriptures

Dr. Lorell Gordon

After several months of campaign rhetoric and many weeks of dueling commercials, the election season can cause stress and anxiety. In a normal year—one without a global pandemic—victors would be declared on election day after all returns are in. But, with COVID-19 concerns, and North Carolina and Pennsylvania allowing mail-in votes to be counted after Nov. 3, it’s probable that a presidential winner won’t be declared for weeks. The late ballots may also mean that winners can’t be determined in the states’ other races as well.

So instead of a sigh of relief that the decision is finally over, Americans could experience anxiety as they wait longer for candidates to prevail. Those anxious thoughts don’t have to become overwhelming, said Dr. Lorell Gordon, GWU assistant professor, clinical mental health counseling.

A licensed professional counselor and supervisor, Gordon served eight years in the Naval Reserves and worked on military bases from 2010-2013 as a Military Family Life Consultant. She maintains her own consulting and counseling practice.

Gordon offers the following tips to mitigate feelings of fear and anxiety, whether associated with election outcomes or other stressful situations.

  • Have a reliable source for getting updated information. Avoid becoming overwhelmed with continuous and repetitive information from the media.
  • Maintain a regular schedule to ensure normality and involvement in routine activities.
  • Practice self-care such as enjoying a favorite show, watching a movie, spending time outside, socializing with a friend, or engaging in a favorite hobby.
  • Avoid negative thoughts such as, “what if,” fortune telling the worst-case scenario, and catastrophizing.
  • Seek help from a clinical mental health counselor if symptoms become unmanageable.
  • Above all, be spiritually informed by remembering scriptures such as, Ecclesiastes 3:11 (New International Version), “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart, yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”

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