In the days leading up to the recent midterm election, headlines abounded about growing anxiety across the nation. Some of the national mood can be credited to the surprising outcome of the 2016 election; some lies in the outspoken disagreement we see and hear around us.
The increase in symptoms of anxiety saw the meditation app “Headspace” offering a “politics pack” comprised of meditation resources “designed to help you breathe, de-stress and reset.”
Headspace would know. In the week following the 2016 election, the app saw a 44 percent surge in use. They currently cite a poll from last year that says the political climate is a “significant source of stress.”
The smoke hasn’t officially cleared from the 2018 election – but it may be worth asking yourself – was the anxiety worth it? Even in the days before the election, some financial experts would have told you it wasn’t. One expert explained that despite how wildly elections can swing, our responses needn’t – perhaps shouldn’t – be immediate. “That first reaction at 2 a.m. tends to be the wrong reaction,“ he said.
Election anxiety may not be just about elections. You may have simply been dealing with the fear of the unknown. Unfortunately, trying to sate that fear by getting as much information as possible – even by staying up until 2 a.m. the night of the election – might not have helped your fear.
I talk to folks every day dealing with the fear of the unknown. In the over twenty years I’ve been working as a Certified Financial Planner, I’ve found one of the most effective ways to combat that fear is an honest assessment of where you are and how it will (or won’t) help you get where you’re hoping to go.
In other words, thoughtful planning > anxiety.
Whether you’re still reeling from the outcome of the election, shocked or overjoyed by its results, consider finding an advisor you can trust to help you look thoughtfully and calmly into the unknown. It’s a healthier path that has both financial and physical benefits.