Your Presidential Candidate Lost. How to Cope with the Crushing Disappointment

by Ruben Castaneda

You’ve watched in horror as roughly half the country supported the presidential candidate you oppose and possibly loathe. You’ve railed at TV and radio news reports that seemed to swing the election against your candidate. And you’ve anxiously followed each dip and rise in your candidate’s polling numbers.

The acrimonious campaign between Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton has taxed the emotional health of people who support both candidates – and people who despise the opposing politician. For months, therapists throughout the country have been hearing from their patients, many of whom are upset and even angry at the prospect of either candidate as president. But come Tuesday night – barring an unlikely cliff-hanging circumstance – Trump or Clinton will become the president-elect, to the deep consternation of many.

In October, the American Psychological Association released a survey conducted by the Harris Poll that found 52 percent of American adults reported the presidential campaign is a very or somewhat significant source of stress. “There’s a lot of polarization. This has been one of the most, if not the most, contentious presidential elections in our history. Whoever wins, a lot of people are going to be very anxious and unhappy,” says Dr. Mason Turner, director of outpatient mental health and addiction medicine for Kaiser Permanente – Northern California, based in Oakland, California.

While the political debates will doubtless rage beyond Election Day, about half of the country will feel disappointed, stressed, anxious, depressed and even angry. Here are eight strategies experts recommend to cope with those emotions.

Keep your emotions in check. Don’t let your feelings get the best of you, says Jan Bruce, chief executive officer of, a Boston-based company that provides digital coaching to help people become more resilient.

“Don’t let emotions run your show,” Bruce says. “You may be feeling anxious or angry, but acknowledge that and put it aside so it doesn’t affect the rest of your day.” Try to be present in the moment while keeping in mind that things might look and feel a lot different a week later. Remember that you’ve worked through difficult times before.