One of the biggest internal struggles amid election season is the seeming lack of control over the results. Many people feel hopeless about enacting real change. It’s easy to question what one vote can really do, which may serve to perpetuate the feeling of lacking control. While these feelings are normal, they can also lead to an overall sense of anxiety or depression in anticipation of November 3. To cope with this seeming lack of control, ask yourself, “What can I do?” Yes, casting a ballot on Election Day is one way to enact change. But can you find creative ways to broaden the scope of your impact? Consider the ways in which you have influence. Although influence is not the same as control, there is a sense of empowerment in knowing you can set change in motion. Maybe this means talking to a friend or family member who is on the fence about voting or volunteering your time at a polling location on election day. Maybe you can engage in phone banking or spreading the word about the candidates that you support in social media. There is a lot about democracy that is out of one person’s control. Your vote exists amongst the votes of millions of other Americans. However, we are all connected, and our sphere of influence can expand beyond the ballot you cast on Election Day. Accept the lack of control while also embracing the power of influence.
This post is the first in a series of three.
Bethany Kriegel, LMHC, earned her master’s degree in mental health counseling from Boston College. She has experience working with adults in residential treatment settings, helping those struggling with eating disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder, among other issues.
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