6 Ways to Stay Spiritually and Mentally Healthy During Election Season

A couple of Sundays ago we had a guest speaker at Connection Church named Jim Comenzo. He is a marriage and family therapist who spoke about mental health hygiene and its importance in our Christian walk.

I was pumped to hear a message like this in such a tumultuous time in our history. After a year of dealing with this insufferable pandemic, now we have an upcoming election to plague our thoughts.

I’ve never been one to get too into politics (I’d much rather watch an episode of Gilmore Girls than a presidential debate), but there’s no denying that this year is particularly divisive. Election season can wreak havoc on your mental and spiritual health. Whether you’re arguing with a relative, reading a particularly snarky post on Facebook, or watching a melodramatic campaign ad, the unease can really get under your skin.

No matter what political stance you take, there are ways to handle this season with discernment and grace that honors the Lord. So pulling from some of the awesome advice about mental hygiene we learned from Jim Comenzo, and a few other reliable sources, here are six ways to stay spiritually and mentally healthy during election season:

1. Turn off the news.

One of my favorite things that Jim mentioned during his sermon was to turn off the news. Such a simple little thing – unsubscribe, click the red power button on the remote, or shut the computer. A little dose of news each day to keep you up to date on the world events is really all you need to stay informed without getting sucked into depressing thoughts.

2. Get off social media. 

While social media can be an excellent communication tool, it can also be dangerous, controversial, and a place for petty arguments that you would never normally engage in face to face. Scrolling is not only bad for your eyes, it’s bad for your mental health. During this season of divisive ads and unfiltered opinions, it might be a good idea to limit your time on social media. Go read a good book or call a friend you haven’t talked to in a while. It would be a much better use of your time.

3. "Pray and read the Bible."

When I was in youth group many moons ago, for every question we were asked we would jokingly answer, “pray and read the Bible” because it pretty much applied to every situation. While we said it in jest, there was truth behind our little joke. In a time of tough decisions, intentional prayer and Bible reading are more important than ever. Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

4. Look for ways to be kind.

In a time where it’s easy to argue and bring down others who might disagree with you or your political beliefs, let’s go out of our way to be kind to one another. Show others of every political party the love and compassion of Christ.

5. Be quick to listen and slow to speak.

James 1:19 says, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” What an excellent verse to take to heart during this season when so many are quick to say what’s on their mind. Listening goes beyond hearing what someone else is saying, it’s listening to their motives, having empathy for a situation they’ve dealt with in the past, and not judging them for their opinion. Let’s have patience and grace for each other always.

6. Be OK with the outcome. 

The election will be here before you know it, and after that our new leaders will be introduced to the world. No matter who you vote for, I believe that God is in control and we need to be OK with whoever sits in the oval office. Being OK doesn’t necessarily mean agreeing with this person, but it does include an element of respect and prayer for their discernment, safety, and that God’s will be done during this next term. No matter who is our President, Jesus is still the king of our hearts.

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