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Anxiety

If the Election Is Triggering Your Anxiety, You Are Not Alone

Anybody else feeling stressed and anxious because of elections?

During the presidential debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, I asked my Facebook and Twitter network the following question:

“Anybody else feeling all sorts of feelings watching this debate?”

Most people chose to respond to me in private messages, and some posted about their frustration publicly. It appears that most Americans shared the same feelings as my small circle of social media connections. Many people felt frustrated, anxious, and stressed during and after the debate and as a result of the current U.S. political situation. According to an article published by the American Psychological Association, “the unpredictability in our nation is causing stress across party lines as well. Most adults from both parties say the current amount of uncertainty in our nation causes them stress (67% Republicans, 76% Democrats), and similar proportions cite the political climate as a significant source of stress in their life (62% Republicans, 77% Democrats)" (APA).

What can you do if you are one of the people whose anxiety has been triggered by the current political climate and the recent presidential debate? Here are a few tips on how to decrease your election-related stress and anxiety.

Facts and data are your friends: Avoid getting caught up in catastrophizing, hypotheses, and probabilities. Instead, do your own research from credible sources and gather data and facts about your candidate's position and plans. Receiving various information and bits and pieces of news will only reinforce your anxiety and will make you feel out-of-control.

Take breaks: Give yourself a break from social media and the news. In the era of smart devices and social media, our lives are flooded with the news from all sources. Your body, mind, and soul are in need of quiet time. Make a point to disconnect from all media for a few hours a day.

Be wise with discussing politics: Set boundaries with people around you. Don’t solicit everyone's opinion; instead, look for substance in your political discussions. Also, remember that engaging in political discussions with folks who have different political opinions than us can be frustrating at times. Agree to disagree and/or do not shy away from saying that you do not want to discuss politics.

Remember your core values and re-shift your focus: Focus on what is in your control—such as your health, your everyday activities, your hobbies, and your work. And channel your energy to things and the people that are important to you. Talk to your close friends and family and ask for their emotional support.

 Cottonbro/Pexels
Exercise your right to vote
Source: Cottonbro/Pexels

Be sure to vote: If you are an American citizen, it is your civil duty to exercise your right to vote. If you can’t vote, then encourage those who can vote to vote. The right to vote is one of the gifts of democracies and must be celebrated and exercised.

Remember our forefather’s vision: The American system is in place for a smooth transfer of power. And our forefathers established a three-part governmental system with checks and balances that has been working beautifully for over 200 years.

Moreover, if you are an activist and involved with your community, try to keep up with your activism and continue to work toward positive changes in your community. In your day-to-day life, take time to sit still, listen and stay calm so that you can process your feelings, and live your life in meaningful and purposeful ways. And lastly, breath and live in the here and now.

References

Majority of Republicans and Democrats reassured by COVID-19 preventative measures but stressed about nationwide uncertainty. (2020, July 28). American Psychological Association. https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2020/07/shared-covid-stress?utm…

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