THE aftermath of the Philippine national elections on May 9 prompted Adamson University in Manila to suspend classes from May 13 to May 16 in order to give students “the time to address post-election stress and take the time to reflect on their election experience,” according to a post signed by university President Marcelo V. Manimtim.

To manage election-related stress and to cope with frustration or guilt, psychiatrist Dr. Randy S. Dellosa recommended letting off steam with like-minded people.

“Avoid people with toxic behaviors that make you feel worse,” he said in a Viber message. “[You can also] create or join organizations with the same aspirations which your political candidate wanted to pursue.”

Elections are naturally stressful because of three factors, he added: the unpredictability of results, the agony of defeat, and the uncertainty of what happens after the electoral victors assume office.

“The stakes wagered is not money but expectations, hope, and emotions,” he said, noting that voters have a strong connection to their preferred political candidates because of their perception of these candidates being extensions of themselves.

“It may be because they come from the same region, or because the political candidate’s promises match the voter’s needs or hopes,” Dr. Dellosa told BusinessWorld. “On the other hand, many political candidates are expert manipulators who know how to create false rapport with the masses just to get themselves voted.”

Relationships have disintegrated in the heat of the political environment.

“People who have severed ties with friends and family due to differences in political opinions need time to heal from their emotional wounds,” said Dr. Dellosa.

Since healing takes time, he added, individuals can choose to either maintain minimal contact with the other person while keeping the interactions respectful, or avoid them — all the while having the openness of heart for reconciliation when one’s emotions have healed enough.

University Health Services at the University of California, Berkeley, also released a list of ideas for managing election-related stress ahead of the 2020 US national elections. The suggestions include avoiding dwelling on things you can’t control, practicing gratitude for the people you feel grateful for, giving yourself permission to feel the way you do, staying active, and limiting your media consumption. — Patricia B. Mirasol