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Survive election uncertainty with these expert tips on how to cope
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Survive election uncertainty with these expert tips on how to cope

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It's the day after one of the most contentious US presidential elections in modern history, and we're still unsure who will lead our country.

You may be reeling with emotion, uncertain how to cope with the stress and uncertainty of the next few hours -- or days -- and unclear on what you can do to help our divided country heal.

"The challenge is this comes on the backdrop of so much uncertainty in so many arenas -- health, business, economic, social," said stress management expert Dr. Cynthia Ackrill, an editor for "Contentment" magazine, produced by the American Institute of Stress.

"And since uncertainty is stressful for most humans, and all stress is additive, this overwhelms already fatigued coping skills," Ackrill told CNN.

Tired brains don't work well, sending less blood flow to such frontal-lobe executive functions as creativity, compassion, emotional regulation, the ability to handle conflicting perspective and rational judgment, she explained.

Those are exactly the higher executive functions we need to manage uncertainty, take action and remain hopeful, so it's no wonder you might be feeling anxious, jittery, exhausted or depressed right now.

With this "chronic crisis," our need to feel in control of something is amplified, so adding more uncertainty is frustrating, and possibly frightening, Ackrill told CNN.

"Acknowledge the fear," Ackrill said. "Like all your emotions, it needs processing."

While some fear is justified, "our brains can make the threat seem closer (or) worse," she said. "Use that fear to motivate you to find places where you do have control, where you can take action, where you can take the best care of yourself to be fit for the challenge."

Here are some steps you can take to fight back against anxiety, fear and uncertainty.

As votes are counted, America and the world wait

 

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