If your post-election mood is taking you on a roller-coaster ride, you may be falling into the sticky trap of pessimism. Do you find yourself saying that this divisive, mean-spirited rhetoric and behavior is likely to become a permanent feature of our society? Does the election signify that such attitudes are far more prevalent than you thought? When you explain the things you don't like as "Permanent, Prevalent, and Personal," you succumb to what Dr. Martin Seligman calls "learned helplessness." But you don't have to stay stuck. You can easily shift yourself into "learned optimism" instead.
In our new book, Micro-Resilience: Minor Shifts for Major Boosts in Focus, Drive, and Energy, we share 21 research-based, immediately effective tools for quick boosts of resilience hour by hour, all day, every day. This one, PPP-to-CCC, shifts you from the hopeless stance of "Permanent, Prevalent, and Personal" (PPP) to the hopeful "Commitment, Challenge, and Choice" (CCC).
Just ask yourself these three simple questions:
1. What am I Committed to? Given the circumstances of uncertainty and the hate rhetoric that has been flourishing of late, it is important to focus on your values and how to stay committed to them in this turbulent time. Identify what is important to YOU, and keep that in the forefront of your thoughts.
2. What is the Challenge to be faced? It is easy to become paralyzed by a fear that the deep divide in our country cannot be healed; that the chasm is too wide. Shift to optimism by finding a small action you can tackle right away. Pick an accessible, doable effort and focus on that. We initiated a pot-luck lunch dialog in our mostly-white, rural church about race. Through our company, Blue Circle Leadership Institute, we provide a nine-month development program for multicultural women leaders. If you remember you don't have to do everything all at once, you can carve out a piece of the challenge that plays to your strengths and, thus, feel empowered around positive action.
3. What Choices do I have? We all heard that the Canadian immigration site crashed during the election returns, but is leaving the country really the choice you want to make? Just having the knowledge that you have choices available shifts your brain into a more positive place. We all have the ability to decide how we spend our brain resources. Focus your mind on want makes you happy in the world - family, home, job, sports, hobbies...whatever it is that feeds your joy.
Remember: Your situation is not Permanent, unless you refuse to take action toward changes you want to see. Nothing is Prevalent - find people with whom you can collaborate, perhaps even among those who don't look or think like you. Everything is Personal, but how we choose to react to challenges is completely in our control.