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Coping With Election-Related Stress

The APA releases a helpful report on managing election related stress.

used with permission by
Source: used with permission by

The American Psychological Association (APA) just released a now annual report about stress in America. See the APA press release about the report here. Also you might read the Washington Post article about it too.

This year, the report focused specifically on stress associated with our remarkable current presidential election. The report found that most people (including those from all age groups, political party affiliations, and most ethnic groups) are quite stressed by the tenor and level of discourse of the current political election process. Those who are actively engaged with social media reported higher levels of election related stress as well. Reviewing some of the details of the report found that Republicans reported more stress than Democrats and elderly adults, adults with disabilities, and Latinos reported especially high levels of election related stress.

The APA report suggested several thoughtful ways to minimize election related stress that are worth repeating here. These include:

1. Limit media exposure including social media
2. Don’t discuss politics with those who will escalate the conversation to higher levels of conflict
3. Channel election related stress into local community and civic activities and volunteerism
4. Remember that life goes on after the election process is finished
5. And be sure to vote

Certainly, the current political process and, most especially, the presidential election contest is remarkable for the level of offensive discourse. It has been a nasty, brutal, and stressful affair for sure. Regardless of what any candidate and their surrogates might say or do, we can all do our part to keep the stress level better managed and under control by engaging in these recommended strategies from the American Psychological Association. We can also do our very best to demand that politicians, and everyone for that matter, behave in a civil, respectful, and compassionate manner and put aside their own needs and desires to attend to the common good. I'm reminded of Michelle Obama's now famous quote, "When they go low, we go high."

At least we can try to do so.

So, what do you think?

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Copyright 2016, Thomas G. Plante, PhD, ABPP