Does thinking about the upcoming election stress you out? You’re not alone. A study carried out by the APA stated that 52% of the American people view the American election as a source of stress. This phenomenon cuts across both the Republicans and the Democrats.
Dr. Steven Stosny coined the term election stress in 2016, after receiving numerous distressed calls during the election cycle. As the election news was amplified by the 24/7 news cycle, it created stress that affected people’s relationships.
Signs and symptoms of election stress disorder include, but are not limited to, anxiety, headache, feeling overwhelmed, and depression. Some individuals state that during the time of an election, they feel distracted at work and have difficulty concentrating. It should be noted that the threats associated with an election can either be real or imagined.
The Sources and Impact of Election Stress Disorder
The state and federal jurisdiction have a significant bearing on the economic direction that a country will take. For example, even though the US and China have deep-rooted ideological differences, they are economically dependent. Policy changes could mean a change in the delicate balance of the economic relationship, which can affect many different industries.
A significant number of Americans prefer dialogue, rationalism, and reason in solving disputes. However, the most significant influence in such decisions largely depends on the president in question. Therefore, the American domestic and foreign policy depends on the president.
Presidential Candidates Main Factor in Election Stress
Although American elections are not known to be violent, they are often a time when emotions and tensions run high. A candidate could campaign based on withdrawing troops from a war zone, and another one would campaign based on the need to use any means to protect the country. Each of those decisions is going to have far-reaching implications on the mind of the average American. For example, a military spouse will follow such news keenly and hope that any election outcome will be favorable to their family’s welfare.
The presidential debates can give you the impression of where the candidates stand on issues such as war, the economy, and social issues. However, presidential candidates often say one thing before the elections and another after the elections.
During the elections, you often hear so much from each candidate that it is hard to figure out the truth. Accusations fly back and forth, and there may be a grain of truth in them. The media often attempt to clarify the candidates’ statements by presenting their stance on the issues. That effort notwithstanding, each side often accuses the other of lying or hiding the facts. This has caused a lot of distrust from people in political parties and heated arguments between their members.
5 Tips for Coping with Election Stress Disorder
You may feel as the elections get closer, that election stress is inevitable. However, there are some things you can do to keep election stress under control.
Self-Care Daily Practices
Your physical and mental health is highly influenced by diet, exercise, sleep, and other parameters. To help keep election stress at bay, make sure you adhere to a healthy, balanced diet. Ensure you get regular exercise, even if it is just a brisk walk and some stretching each day.
Make time for yourself each day to meditate and calm your mind. Or just sit and breathe for 5-10 minutes if meditation is not your thing. And get plenty of quality sleep.
Be Sensitive to Others
It is true that social ills such as racism have come to the surface and spread their tentacles across the country. However, as an individual, you can play a positive role in addressing such ills. For example, be mindful of the language you use and the actions you take. Similarly, appreciate what the community and the neighborhood is doing in order to address such ills, and if you can, lend a helping hand.
Use Social Media with Moderation
The advent of the internet did not envision that it would be used as a tool of hate and division. The modern disinformation war front is on social media. With just a click, insensitive photos are uploaded, and hate messages are posted. Through social media, you can anonymously post a message or a photo thereby making it hard to trace people who post hate messages.
The modern social media platform stresses the need to share content, therefore, content is shared in an effective and fast way. People who use social media are more likely to say they feel election stress than those who don’t. As the election gets closer, avoid spending a lot of hours on social media. Limit your time or stay off of it completely.
Make a Voting Plan
It has been recommended that you should vote as early as you can. Early voting is easy and convenient. You can avoid standing in the long lines on the day of the election. In many states, you can track your ballot, so you’ll know when your vote has been counted.
Again, election tension is highest at the time of the election, and you should avoid being at the voting polls at this time. Voting early can help you take a break from election news and just wait for the outcome.
Election stress disorder should not make you unresponsive to the political climate. Stay on top of the issues, write letters to candidates, and the politicians that represent you, help get out the vote and work for causes you believe in. When you work for change, you will feel more empowered.
Election stress disorder is real, and this could be one of the most critical elections in decades. Keep in mind that history is filled with troubling and turbulent times, and the political process is often messy. Treat the situation with the appropriate amount of concern and do what you need to do to take care of yourself.