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Accepting an outcome: The psychology of acknowledging election results
Accepting an outcome: The psychology of acknowledging election results

This article originally appeared on KENS5 by Marvin Hurst. James Bray, professor of Psychology, is quoted extensively and appears in the video below.


SAN ANTONIO — The election of 2020 is not traditional. A record-breaking number of voters had their say at the polls.

What voters said after casting their ballot is in question. The projected winner is former Vice-President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris. Their presumed victory ousts incumbent Donald Trump and Mike Pence.

Streets across the country filled up with celebrations and pushback.

“So, what’s important for people to understand about the election outcome is that—number one—you have to come to terms with it,” Dr.  James Bray said.

Bray is a former president of the American Psychological Association and Professor in the UTSA psychology department. He said voters tend to worry about a couple of things when it comes to elections. The first, Bray said, are pocketbook issues.

“That really taps into our survival,” he said. “When our survival is threatened, we get anxious and stressed.”

Then, he said voters get concerned about life issues connected to their morals and beliefs. Bray said what’s important for voters to accept is wins and losses in politics are cyclical.

“You either won or your candidate won or your candidate lost,” he said. “It’s not permanent. It will change in the future.”

Meantime, he recommends focusing your mental health on things you can control right now: Exercising, eating healthy, and talking with the ones you love.

Stepping away from social media or taking in news media in healthy doses or not all is also on his recommendation list.

“We still don’t quite know what the election outcome is. We’re pretty certain about it,” he said. “But when that happens, that’s when people will finally be able to have to come to terms with it.”

 

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