In a recent survey, the American Psychological Association (APA), found that election stress affects 52 percent of adult Americans. Earlier this year, a Pew Research Center poll revealed 54 percent of Americans were “disgusted” with the current presidential race.
So chances are you suffer from election stress as millions of other Americans. And with less than three weeks until the Election Day, you should be prepared to experience more anxiety.
Experts noted that there’s no escape from exposure to the presidential campaign. For example, you can access your Facebook page and see some of your friends posting election-related materials. And on top of that, APA investigators think the election stress will continue beyond Nov. 8.
The APA Survey
APA’s Stress in America Survey included 3,511 adults. The APA conducts the survey every year to examine how stress affects the mental health of adults living in America. But this year, the association included a question about election stress.
Additionally, regardless of sex, more than half of Americans said the current presidential campaign is a significant source of stress. Plus both Republicans and Democrats reported election anxiety with 59 percent, respectively 55 percent of respondents saying the campaign is a major source of stress.
When it comes to age, study investigators found Millennials, i.e. people born between 1980 and 1995 and people aged at least 71 reported high level of election stress. By contrast, the election does not affect that much Baby Boomers (people born before 1963) and Gen X’ers (people born between 1963 and 1980).
Another important finding is that respondents who said the campaign was a major source of stress for them were also more likely to report high levels of overall stress.
APA’s Tips on How To Minimize Stress
Fortunately, there is something you can do to reduce election anxiety. APA experts recommend taking a pause from social media at least until Nov. 8. Experts found Facebook and Twitter users had a significantly higher risk of election stress than non-users.
APA’s Lynn Bufka explained social media can fuel election anxiety through online debates, clashes with rival supporters, images, and stories. Social media content can boost concern and frustration among users especially when comments get hostile.
The APA also recommend to limit daily media consumption. You should focus only on the news pieces that keep you informed and steer away from endless debates on a specific topic. Candidates’ claims and replies to claims can stress you out even more.
Additionally, disable the newsfeed or simply quit Facebook for a while. Instead, you should focus on doing things that are good for you such as going for a walk, spend more quality time with family and friends, and doing things you really enjoy.
Also, don’t get into debates about the elections if you feel they’ll lead to a conflict. Slow down a little bit and see how often you tend to discuss politics with your friends, coworkers and family members.
Furthermore, stop worrying about the future. Many survey respondents said they were stressed at the thought that the X candidate would win. AHA experts recommend channeling those concerns to issues you are actually in control of, such as making a positive change in your local community.
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