The election season is often associated with high levels of stress and anxiety. People often get into heated arguments and have emotional outbursts that could be bad for their mental health and general well-being.
But this should not be the case. Election time doesn’t have to be a trigger for stress and distress. Rather, it should provide an opportunity to sift through the candidates presented by the various political parties so that we can make the right choices in our pursuit of nation-building. [Click to tweet]
Unfortunately, instead of focusing on the critical business of nation-building, most people are focused on pushing their self-serving agenda. Most of us gravitate towards people that look like us without paying attention to their credentials, antecedents, and capacity to deliver on the imperatives of national development.
So, we divide the country based on race and religion when we should be judging candidates based on how well they can do their jobs and how ready they are to help build the country. This situation underscores the need for emotional intelligence in nation-building.
Nation-building involves bringing together a group of people from different backgrounds, with different histories, languages, cultures, and religions, within the borders of a sovereign state.
When we learn to deploy emotional intelligence in nation-building, we will start to see our differences from an enlightened perspective. This will cause us to value our diversity as a source of strength rather than a source of division.
Emotional intelligence will teach us to base our decisions on facts and real-world evidence instead of being swayed by propaganda without realizing it. Our choices will not be driven by religious and ethnic proclivities but by an objective assessment of the candidates to determine who is best positioned to lead us, going forward.
Now, how exactly do we deploy emotional intelligence in nation-building, especially during election season? Let’s consider the following practical ideas.
Avoid mindless chatter
A lot of people become less productive during election season because of the back-and-forth arguments that pervade their offices. These are professionals who should be working towards improving the productivity of their organizations and, by extension, the productivity of the country.
But you can find these people having pointless debates and fights in places like offices, religious spaces, and even their own homes. This causes the election process to create a big gulf between people.
Then, after the elections are over, they start to have strained relationships with their friends, colleagues, neighbors, and family members because they’ve allowed a difference in opinion to separate them from the people that matter most to them.
It is therefore important to deploy emotional intelligence when discussing elections with other people. Be deliberate about the kind of conversations that you initiate, entertain, and participate in.
Control the news instead of the news controlling you
Emotional intelligence will help you see that this season will be full of fake news and propaganda. It will also tell you to act based on your own personal convictions and values. By deploying emotional intelligence, you will have the presence of mind to say and do the right thing instead of dancing to the tune of some piper whose agenda you may not even be aware of.
It will also help you choose the kind of news that you share, repost, or broadcast. With the power of technology and social media, everybody is now a journalist and a broadcaster. We have the professionals who are paid to do the real work, and we have those who are paid to stir up division and spread propaganda through their smartphones and other devices.
Emotional intelligence will teach you to pause and think so that you can be deliberate about the kinds of voices that you choose to amplify through your social media platforms and other communication channels. Do your own research and be careful about what you say and share during the election season.
Self-awareness is about knowing yourself well enough to understand your strengths and areas of improvement while also owning your values and beliefs. In other words, you know who you are and who you are not instead of finding your identity in your affiliation with an ethnic group, a religion, a political party, or other extrinsic factors and stereotypes.
Cultivating self-awareness will help you know what you can handle and what will push you over the edge. So you will realize that when you open your mind to some kind of news or information, you may lose control of your mind, become really afraid, and become angry. When you are self-aware, you will know your limits and how much propaganda or even real news can upset you. You will also be able to keep control of your mind by not letting yourself read, watch, or listen to that kind of content in the first place.
Self-awareness will help you understand that the moment you expose yourself to some kind of content, it leads to an unnecessary argument or emotional outburst. Then you know that you want to take yourself out of that situation. This is why cultivating self-awareness is one of the most important things you can do to protect your mental health while using emotional intelligence to help build the country during election season.
Most people lack self-awareness. We don’t really take time to observe ourselves and think through our actions as individuals. In fact, most times when there is an issue, we point fingers at the next person without necessarily looking at the man or woman in the mirror. When you look into the mirror, you see yourself for who you are. So, it’s very important to keep working on self-awareness so that we can control ourselves and stay sane.
The chaos that characterizes the election period is caused by people who lack self-awareness and self-control. Some of these people are paid to brainwash the electorate by spreading propaganda. And there are those who sponsor others to spread chaos. You don’t want to be in either camp, nor do you want to be among the people who will be brainwashed.
So, it’s important to keep your cool and remember that your job right now is to help build the country, not to get into pointless arguments that cause chaos everywhere. Your responsibility is to vote in the election and maintain peace wherever you are.
We know how stressful the election season can be and how it can have a negative impact on your mental health. Whether you are sitting at home, working in the office, or out on the streets, you must be able to use your emotional intelligence to protect yourself from the difficult emotional climate. The tips we have discussed in this guide will help you do just that.