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Rachel Frederick - Health Wellness Writer

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2016 election

Dealing With Election Stress

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More than ever before, Americans are reporting incredible amounts of anger, anxiety, negativity, and loss of hope. Many psychologists believe it is directly tied to the stories that have been taking over the news for the past several months. Election Stress Disorder has turned into a very real mental side effect of this election.

A recent article in the Washington Post read,

An American Psychological Association survey released Sept. 14 found that about 1 in 4 American workers reported feeling less productive and more stressed at their jobs because of political discussions there. And these feelings of discontent were consistent regardless of political party affiliation or ideology. 

In August, a Washington Post-ABC News poll asked registered voters whether a President Clinton or a President Trump made them anxious. Just over 50 percent said Clinton made them anxious and 70 percent said Trump did. Those results are identical to ones from a January poll, when the same question was asked, which shows how long people have been grappling with this anxiety.

I’m right there with them. I refused to watch more than 15 minutes of each of the last two debates because of all the anger, lack of professionalism, and hate.

And while the election is only a few days away, the mental trauma is still something many Americans are going to have to work through.

How to move past the stress

The most important thing you can do is increase the amount of positive energy in your day.

Surround yourself with friends

Make time to hang out with friends. Have a drink, get dinner, go see a comedy show. Laughter is an incredible rehabilitation tool. Laughter increases oxygen to the brain which helps us think more clearly. It’s also been proven to reduce stress hormones.

Get in an extra workout

Head to the gym for an extra workout. Again, the increased oxygen to your brain does wonders for your mood. But an extra workout also takes your mind off what you are stressing about.

Eat well

When your body is full of high fat, high sugar food, it’s slow and sluggish. When you feel gross, you can’t process thoughts as well. There’s also the issue of stress eating. And more often than not, stress eating regret, after the fact.

Be positive around others (even if you have to fake it)

Make an effort to say three nice things to someone every day. One of the main symptoms of excessive stress is the overwhelming feeling to blame, devalue, and oversimplify other viewpoints. If you find yourself thinking (or saying) negative things, counterbalance with positive. Before too long, the positive will out-weigh the negative.

Turn off the news

And I highly suggest that you stop watching the news! It’s very unlikely that you’ll learn anything new in the next few days that will change your mind one way or the other.

Vote

Get out and vote. I’m a firm believer that you can’t complain about something if you’re not willing to do your part to fix it. So whatever your viewpoints are on the matter, make your voice count.

Here ends the most political piece I may ever write.

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