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Keith Bybee Discusses Post-Election Well-Being with Thrive

Posted on Thursday 11/8/2018
Keith Bybee

5 Ways To Prioritize Your Well-Being After the Election

(Thrive Global | Nov. 7, 2018) The months and weeks leading up to the Nov. 6 elections have embroiled us—individually and collectively as a nation—in heated, often life-draining debates. And while the election is over, the discord will surely ensue: Congress remains divided with Republicans maintaining a majority in the Senate and Democrats taking the House.

Across the country, stress levels as a result of politics are at an all time high. A majority of Americans (59 percent, age 18 and older) blame the state of American politics as the source of their stress, according to a survey published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA). And 55 percent of Generation Z attribute their increased levels of stress to the same culprit, a newly released report from the APA found.

While the elections may have left you feeling tired, angry, or even numb, we must press on and fight for the change we want to see. But first, we must reflect and recharge. Thrive Global checked in with Keith J. Bybee, Ph.D., a professor of law and political science at Syracuse University and the author of How Civility Works, to gather some tips on how we can hit refresh on our lives after a tumultuous and tense year.

Protect yourself from political meanness 

Political discourse steeped in racism, xenophobia, sexism and homophobia has been impossible to escape — and consistently being exposed to messages of hate can be painful and damaging. But, Bybee urges us to remind ourselves that this ugly rhetoric is a strategy to rile and rally people against one another for political gain. Keeping that in mind, he says, may take away a bit of the sting.

Look for the positive takeaways

History bears out that change will eventually come—however slowly and grudgingly. Bybee points out that last night’s series of political firsts is the enduring fruit of social movements that began as far back as the 19th century with the suffragists and abolitionists. It’s worth savoring the evening's successes: Women spearheaded the charge to flip the House with two Muslim winners (Democrats Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan), a lesbian Native American (Democrat Sharice Davids of Kansas), and the youngest woman ever to be elected to Congress (29-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York’s 14th district). Since we all benefit from the improved status of our most marginalized and vulnerable, their successes are everyone's successes ...

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