RELIGION

Now That The Election Is Over, It's Time To Heal Our Spirits

Tips for spiritual recovery.

10/11/2016 7:34 AM AEDT

During her concession speech on Wednesday morning, Hillary Clinton urged the crowd, “Let us have faith in each other, let us not grow weary, let us not lose heart, for there are more seasons to come. And there is more work to do.” She was absolutely right.

The presidential race brought out some of the worst of American society, exposing the racism, sexism and xenophobia that persist despite the country’s advances. It pitted religious groups against one another, caused “significant” stress in more than half the population and often gave Americans little to have faith in. Some even had actual nightmares over the course of the election.

Now that the results are in, the task of healing is more critical than ever. 

Episcopal churches around the country hosted 48-hour prayer vigils leading up to Tuesday’s election as a way of bringing people together across the political divide. “We must pray for a peaceful transition, no matter the outcome of our elections,” Massachusetts Episcopal bishops wrote in a statement.

Vigils, gatherings and frank conversations will likely continue in the months and years to come. But first, a transition into healing and reconciliation can start with each person individually.

Here are seven tips for embarking on spiritual recovery now that the election is over:

Make amends with loved ones.

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According to psychologist John M. Grohol, Psy.D., healing after such a bitter election season must begin at home. “Now is the time to apologize for such remarks and acknowledge that some elections can be more acrimonious and frustrating than others,” Grohol wrote on PsychCentral. “But it is no excuse not to treat others with the same respect we all want and deserve.”

Donate to support the groups Donald Trump attacked. 

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Over the course of his campaign, President-elect Donald Trump made countless dangerous and derogatory comments about women, Muslims, Latinos and a host of other marginalized groups. Many religious and spiritual traditions have practices of charitable giving and reaching out to those in need. The groups Trump disparaged will likely continue to be targets of bigotry long after this election ― and these are some ways you can help.

Get to know your neighbors. 

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We live in an increasingly pluralistic society where the chance of knowing or encountering people from very different backgrounds is high. That is, if we make the effort to reach out. It’s all too easy to stay in our personal bubbles and either love or judge others from afar. But the Christian teaching to “love your neighbor as yourself” takes some actual effort ― and it’s crucial now after an election that pitted Americans against one another. 

Practice forgiveness.

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“We should be willing to forgive our former opponents,” wrote theologian Robert Franklin in an Oct. 12 article on Religion News Service. “Authentic faith also reminds us of the importance of humility and not assuming that one party or one tradition possesses all truth.”

Write a list of things you’re grateful for. 

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Gratitude ― a practice embedded in most faith traditions ― has deep healing power. If you’re still boiling from some of the things that went down during this presidential race, let gratitude be a cooling balm. There are many ways to develop a regular practice of gratitude, but an easy way to start is by jotting down three things you’re grateful for in your life.

Connect with nature.  

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Spending time in the great outdoors has been shown to dramatically reduce stress and improve a person’s mood. And who couldn’t use a break from social media for a bit? Give yourself the gift of spending some quality time with nature, sans phone or laptop. Go for a hike. Jump in the ocean. Cleanse yourself however you need to in nature’s healing essence.

Remember that we’re just one small part of a vast universe. 

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The issues we face are immense, but in some ways they’re also microscopic. For the scientifically-minded, remember that Earth and all normal, observable matter make up less than five percent of the universe. For those with deeply held religious convictions, there may be a God, or Great Spirit, or universal power watching over us. In either case, there’s a bigger picture to keep in mind -- and it's up to us to make our little patch of the universe a better place.

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