As we’ve approached the U.S. election, I’ve gotten a lot of questions about what’s the best way to handle the stress of who will be elected. My response has been and continues to be don’t worry about it. This election cycle has taken a human tendency of obsessing over what other people do and magnifying that tendency to unhealthy levels – both emotionally and physically. As long your focus is on what other people are doing, you will feel stressed, out of balance, and angry.
Therefore, my thoughts are as simple as they are direct: Turn off the TV, stop watching the news, stop listening to talk radio, and ask yourself, “Is what my neighbor doing right now affecting me?” Unless you’re fixated on controlling every aspect of your neighbor’s life, I’m willing to guess that the answer is no. Now ask yourself, “Is what I’m doing right now affecting my neighbor?” Again, I’m pretty sure the answer is no.
My point is that 99.99% of the time, what other people do doesn’t affect you, just as what you’re doing right now isn’t affecting them. Have 30,000 missing emails turned your life into a living hell? No. Is Donald Trump’s manipulation of the tax code directly responsible for every bad event in your life? No.
If honesty, integrity, and the way people treat each other mean a lot to you, then live those principles. Concern yourself with being the best person you know how to be. Be honest. Be respectful. And stop worrying about what others are doing or what they have done. As long as you’re focused on what other people are doing, you’re diverting your attention from living the best life you can.
Remember the First Principle of Joy: You are not responsible for anyone else’s happiness but your own. By extension, no one else is responsible for your life but you. It doesn’t matter who is president or who represents you in Congress. You can choose to live the best life you can right now, and you can do that by understanding that circumstances don’t affect our mood. It is our mood that affects our circumstances.
So yes, go out and vote – especially if you have the right to do so. But if you want to live in a world you love, ignore the politicians. Ignore the news. Ignore anything that doesn’t feel good. Focus on you. Do what brings you joy. Love yourself.
Most importantly, just be a fucking awesome human being. Everything else is a distraction.
About the Author
Appio Hunter is an author, speaker, spiritual guide, and self-described champion for living joyously. He uses his seminars and workshops to facilitate conversations about authenticity, alignment, and the daily experience of community, connection, and joy. Appio is also a weekly columnist with The Good Men Project and co-host of the Real Men Feel Show along with his good friend Andy Grant.