Suffering from Post-Election Stress? Try This…

November 23, 2004 | by | Topic: The Content of CharacterPrint Print

To those blue folks suffering from Post-Election Stress Disorder, I have what may be just the remedy you need. Actually, the answer is on the calendar. It is called Thanksgiving.

What is Post-Election Stress Disorder (PESD)? If one can believe the media, there is an epidemic of people who are stressed out and even depressed over the election of George Bush for a second term. Mental health professionals, of whom I am one, have been alerting the nation to this new threat to our mental health. Does your democratic co-worker snap at you in the morning? Is her attendance at work spotty? Does he spend work time on the Internet looking up citizenship requirements for Canada? All of these symptoms and more may reveal the insidious onset of PESD.

I want to help.

As bad as these symptoms are, I believe I have the answer for at least a large share of the cases. I suggest a paradoxical technique. Counterintuitive though it may be, I suggest giving thanks.

Now I know Thanksgiving is a religious holiday, at least in its original form, but giving thanks can have medicinal benefits even if considered apart from religion. This may require therapy for some but most people can apply this at home.

I can hear many Kerry supporters now. But what do we have to be thankful for? The Republicans have more political control than before the election. The Supreme Court may be renamed the Supreme Taliban. Country music plays loudly in the White House and on it goes.

Don’t fear! I know giving thanks works because I tried it myself. During the Clinton years.

Here’s how it works. First, you remember that this is the greatest nation on earth. People flock here from everywhere because we are still the land of opportunity no matter who is in the White House. Second, we are the most resilient nation on earth. No matter how many people hate, envy or attack us, we come back and always stronger. Third, we are the most free nation on earth. The constitution is the standard that guarantees our freedom and most of the time, it works to assure everyone a voice. In some countries, the system works so infrequently that when it does, it is news. In our country, there is freedom to speak openly about the exceptions when the system does not work.

Finally, you have the right to be wrong in this great land. A minority of voters exercised that right earlier this month and we all should be thankful that they could.

So there you have it. The Thanksgiving season is upon us and I am hopeful that this exercise in therapeutic opinion writing will find an ear for a hurting sufferer of PESD just in time to salvage the holidays.

So no matter to whom or what you pray, whether you are having turkey or tofu, try giving a little thanks this holiday season. It’ll be good for what ails you.

I know in this post election time, I have an awful lot to be thankful for.

Warren Throckmorton

Warren Throckmorton

Dr. Warren Throckmorton is an associate professor of psychology and fellow for psychology and public policy with The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College. Dr. Throckmorton is past-president of the American Mental Health Counselors Association and is co-author (with Dr. Michael Coulter) of ”Getting Jefferson Right: Fact Checking Claims about Our Third President.” He can be contacted through his blog at www.WThrockmorton.com..

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