Can We Come Together (Part 1)

ByDr. Marshall

Can We Come Together (Part 1)

Yesterday the Electoral College made it official. Donald Trump is the 45th president of the United States. And while that decision makes it final–finally, our country still faces the larger problem of what to do about the yawning chasm that divides red and blue states, conservatives and liberals, republicans and democrats.  Election fever is still running high among our citizens; passions have not yet cooled and a still-hot anger remains visible just below the surface.

I have yet to meet a single individual who was not personally affected by this year’s presidential campaign and election or who remains unconcerned about the outcome. We just don’t seem to be able to get over it. The victors just can’t stop gloating and the vanquished just can’t stop hurting. The “winners” are predicting the dawn of a new era, envisioning a world where the United States once again reigns supreme. At the other extreme, the “losers” are predicting the demise of the republic.

Actually, most of us are beginning to realize that neither of these outcomes is likely; as always, it is far more likely that we will end up somewhere between the two extremes. Plus, we need to keep chaos theory in mind. The world is not going to stand still while we sort out our political laundry. Though not factored into his plans, the events of September 11, 2001 shaped both terms of our 43rd president.

So, as the end of 2016 approaches, pause for a moment and take a deep breath. And if you find that your anger, your stress, and your anxiety over this election and this president-elect is not diminishing, it is time to stop and smell the pine trees.  If you’re still gloating, stop. The only thing worse than a poor loser is a gloating winner; it’s one of those things you should have learned in kindergarten. Your candidate won; now your candidate must govern. And those are two VERY different things. As a candidate, one only has to whip up the enthusiasm of those who are already in agreement; those who disagree can be marginalized, called names, and treated with disdain. A president, on the other hand, assumes responsibility of ALL Americans and that includes those who might not agree.

And if you lost, stop pining. But how? Well, as it turns out, there are several things you can do. This begins by realizing that the stress and anger you are hanging on to are causing you to produce destructive chemicals that are going to compromise your immune system and make your body an ideal target for opportunistic infections. You don’t want that, believe me. It’s bad for your body and it’s even worse for your brain. But for strategies to address this issue, come back for Part 2 of this blog.

About the author

Dr. Marshall administrator

Richard Marshall earned an Ed.D. in reading and learning disabilities at West Virginia University in 1982. While completing his doctoral studies he served as an educational specialist in the Pediatric Neurology. Upon completion of his degree he became an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the WVU Medical School. After moving to Florida in 1983, he joined the faculty in the Department of Pediatrics in the College of Medicine at the University of South Florida and worked for five years in the Neonatal Developmental Follow-Up Program. In 1993, he completed a Ph.D. in School Psychology at the University of Georgia with an emphasis in Child and Adolescent Neuropsychology. Upon degree completion, he taught courses in the biological bases of behavior and neuropsychology at the University of Texas in Austin. He also served as developmental psychologist at the Children’s Hospital of Austin. He and his family returned to Florida in 2001 and he once more became a faculty member at the University of South Florida. He is presently an Associate Professor in the College of Education and he is an adjunct associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences at the USF College of Medicine. In 2008, Dr. Marshall co-authored the Pediatric Behavior Rating Scale; in 2011, he co-authored The Middle School Mind: Growing Pains in Early Adolescent Brains (2011) and is currently revising the Handbook for Raising an Emotionally Healthy Child (2012). In addition to writing and a busy schedule of workshops and presentations, Dr. Marshall also maintains a private practice in Lakeland, Florida where he specializes in the assessment and treatment of children and adults with emotional, behavioral, and learning disorders; parenting; family therapy; and couples counseling. As part of that practice he maintains a daily blog and he co-hosts The Mental Breakdown Podcast (iTunes, Google Play Music, and YouTube) and the Psychreg Podcast. He has spoken to professional and community groups throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and South America.

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