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What can you do to lower stress caused by election?

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Posted at 6:42 PM, Oct 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-07 19:42:18-04

It’s been a long year. Pandemic, wildfires, murder hornets, and now the 2020 election.

And if you thought we might get a civilized discussion of the issues, well, that remains a challenge.

If you think you’re the only one feeling stressed out by the election, a study conducted by The American Psychological Association shows 52% of Americans feel the same way.

“For a lot of people, this election has become so emotional, so existential, and that’s real, that’s very, very real to them,” said Kelly Hupfeld, a professor at Colorado University Denver.

“It’s kind of on par with 2020, but it definitely has it’s own individual, independent impact other than the coronavirus and other sort of social unrest that’s been going on,” said Lisa Henderson, a licensed counselor in Tennessee.

Henderson says she’s seeing increased stress among her clients because of the election.

“There’s this feeling of just helplessness, of you know, things are going on and I can’t really do much about it and sure I can vote, but right now, I think we’re about a month away from that,” said Henderson.

And the way the candidates are acting probably isn’t helping

“We just watched a really uncomfortable social conflict, and it was nerve wracking for a lot of us,” said Hupfeld.

So, maybe you’re feeling stressed, but what are the signs you may be dealing with something more concerning.

“If you’re mind is racing with thoughts you don’t really have control over anymore, so that it becomes kind of impossible for you to be able to calm yourself, that can be a sign that anxiety is really getting out of control,” said Hupfeld.

According to the mayo clinic, these are some of the signs of an anxiety disorder.

  • Feeling nervous, restless or tense
  • Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom
  • Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry
  • trouble sleeping
  • Having difficulty controlling worry

So what can you do if you’re feeling like this?

“You can turn your television off, you don’t have to watch it. Similarly to Thanksgiving, you can actually get up from the table, you don’t have to stay,” said Henderson.

If watching a debate or constantly getting news updates makes you feel stressed, take a break from the news, social media, and other things that trigger stress.

Henerson also suggests asking yourself a question.

“How does this impact me right now?” said Henderson.

Henderson says these are big issues that do affect all of us, but it’s unlikely to change your day to day right away, so don’t let the stress impact your day to day either.

“Really evaluate sort of an in the moment type of way, what impact does this have on me? Today, what is this going to impact?” said Henderson.

One of the most important things you can do, seek help if you’re feeling like this. The National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline number is 1-800-950-6264. You can call to find a therapist or mental health professional in your area.