We would need to be living under a rock to not feel the seismic shock across the States this week. Technically, we’d still feel it, but maybe not know the source. We know the source; the election.
My goal this month was to focus on addressing physical inactivity and its complications. However, addressing the collective mental health of the country had forced its way to the top of my, ‘to do’ list.
Disclaimer: The example below is an example only, not an endorsement one way or the other on the election result. I love talking politics, but it’s not always easy for me. Due to my own personal beliefs, I did not have a connection with Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. If you’re curious about what I do stand for, shoot me a message and we can talk.
The Kübler-Ross Model or the, “five stages of grieving”is a series of stages that Swiss psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross created due to her experiences working with terminally ill cancer patients.
Why am I bringing this up? It doesn’t just relate to dying. It can be due to losing a job, the lose of a sports game, or the results of an election, to name a range of scenarios.
I wrote broadly yesterday about politics and fighting for our beliefs with love instead of hate. Unfortunately, one of the stages of grief is anger, which can manifest itself as hate as we go through the process.
Here are the five stages of grieving as they potentially relate to how the election result is viewed:
- Denial – “There’s no way Donald Trump won. This isn’t happening.”
- Anger – “He didn’t even win the popular vote! Republicans are stupid! Let’s protest!”
- Bargaining – “The election was rigged, we need to recount the votes, someone cheated!”
- Depression – “All that we fought so hard for is going to disappear now…”
- Acceptance – “I don’t agree with anything Trump stands for, which is why I need to fight even harder for what matters to me.”
My mathematical mind helps me when I let myself down. I force myself to take a step back, regain some perspective, and put my feelings through a model like this.
It is important to note that this isn’t a linear model, meaning we can jump straight from denial to depression. Often, we find that we bounce around in the model, or potentially skip an entire stage. The goal is to arrive at acceptance. Acceptance is the stage where we stop radiating more heat than light. Now we can formulate a plan and move forward.
All stages except acceptance end up being unhealthy for our mental state. Acceptance doesn’t mean we are all of a sudden in love with the fact that we are going to die in the the case of the terminally ill patient. Likewise, it doesn’t mean we are in love with our new president. What it means is that when we arrive at acceptance, we are able to look back at the event calmly, stabilize our emotions, and proceed to resolve the issue.
It is easier said than done, but anything new takes practice.
Remember that when we find ourselves grieving, it is a normal process, we are not alone, and it will take work to arrive at acceptance.