Scientists reveal how long it will take us to stop feeling sad about the US election

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Kayleigh Dray
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It still feels like a waking nightmare, but Donald Trump was recently confirmed as the USA’s President Elect after a gruelling and scandal-laden election.

Social media was initially flooded with messages of shock and disbelief; over the past few days, the tone has changed to one of anger, desperation, and an overwhelming fear for the future.

And thousands of people protesting the election of Donald Trump have been taking to the streets in cities across the country, with 225 arrested across various cities – and at least 185 in Los Angeles alone.

From anti-Trump messages on social media, to highway blockades, angry chants of “not my president”, and a rampage through Portland, people have been making their feelings about the election loud and clear.

And it’s unsurprising, as, according to a report published in the Journal of Experimental Political Science, election and referendum results (hello again, Brexit) affect our moods in a pretty big way. In fact, being on the losing side tends to have a bigger impact on our lives than being on that of the victors.

However, according to research conducted to support the article, the misery, anxiety, and sense of loss we are all experiencing after Trump’s victory will fade away far quicker than we’d have guessed.

After the 2012 election, researchers followed 210 Republicans and 111 Democrats in the weeks after the polls. Voters who watched their candidate lose in the polls immediately reported a 30 to 60 percent decline in happiness.

Just seven days later, their moods had returned to normal.

“Elections strongly affect the immediate happiness/sadness of partisan losers, but minimally impact partisan winners,” explain scientists. “This effect is consistent with psychological research on the good-bad hedonic asymmetry, but appears to dissipate within a week after the election.”

However, while no scientific research has been conducted into the moods of the people following the 2016 presidential election, it seems safe to say that things may be different this time around.

Claiming he wants to “make America great again”, Trump has vowed to make several unorthodox changes to America’s immigration, trade, taxes, and foreign policy. From promising “to build a great, great wall on our southern border” (and make Meixco pay for it), to a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on,” his promises have been deemed racist, divisive, and damaging to the country.

Trump has also reiterated his intention to nominate pro-life justices for the Supreme Court, whom he intends to have back Second Amendment rights.

All in all, the earth-shattering changes that Trump has planned for America seem as if they will not be over quickly – so we doubt that people’s feelings of despondency surrounding the election will be over in just seven days.

Images: Rex Pictures


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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.