“I’ve been in private practice for 30 years, and I have never seen patients have such strong reactions to an election,” Sue Elias, a licensed social worker from New York, told the New York Times.
The 2016 President election has turned out to be one of the most chaotic in modern history. And some of this chaos is affecting our mental well being.
No matter what party you are rooting for — Democrat or Republican — we can all agree that anxiety and fear are two simple words to describe this election.
According to a survey by the American Psychological Association (APA), 52 percent of Americans believe that the election has brought forth high levels of stress.
This election anxiety is bringing more patients into the offices of therapists, the New York Times reported.
Issues such as immigration, terrorism, national security, gun rights and sexual assaults are some of the main factors contributing to election anxiety.
Additionally, conspiracies of a “rigged election” and leaked data from Wikileaks are also taking a toll on Americans’ mental health.
“Election stress becomes exacerbated by arguments, stories, images and video on social media that can heighten concern and frustration, particularly with thousands of comments that can range from factual to hostile or even inflammatory,” APA wrote.
It can also be safe to say that Donald Trump’s impulsive behavior, along with his back and forth insults against women are what’s playing major factors in the American public’s mental health.
After the reveal of sexual assault comments made by Trump in the 90s, nearly a dozen women has come forward alleging that the republican nominee groped them.
Whether or not these allegations are real, it has triggered a high level of conflict between their democrat counterpart.
The APA has targetted the results of its survey by different generations.
“While men and women are equally likely (51 percent vs. 52 percent, respectively) to say the 2016 U.S. presidential election is a very or somewhat significant source of stress, election stress differs among generations of Americans.”
The survey also stated, “Millennials and “matures” are the most likely to say the election is a very or somewhat significant source of stress (56 percent vs. 59 percent, respectively) — significantly more than Generation Xers (45 percent) but not boomers (50 percent).”
Also in the survey, the APA released five tips on how to cope and manage your election anxiety.
- If the 24-hour news cycle of claims and counterclaims from the candidates is causing you stress, limit your media consumption. Read just enough to stay informed. Turn off the newsfeed or take a digital break. Take some time for yourself, go for a walk, or spend time with friends and family doing things that you enjoy.
- Avoid getting into discussions about the election if you think they have the potential to escalate to conflict. Be cognizant of the frequency with which you’re discussing the election with friends, family members or coworkers.
- Stress and anxiety about what might happen are not productive. Channel your concerns to make a positive difference on issues you care about. Consider volunteering in your community, advocating for an issue you support or joining a local group. Remember that in addition to the presidential election, there are state and local elections taking place in many parts of the country, providing more opportunities for civic involvement.
- Whatever happens on Nov. 8, life will go on. Our political system and the three branches of government mean that we can expect a significant degree of stability immediately after a major transition of government. Avoid catastrophizing, and maintain a balanced perspective.
- Vote. In a democracy, a citizen’s voice does matter. By voting, you will hopefully feel you are taking a proactive step and participating in what for many has been a stressful election cycle. Find balanced information to learn about all the candidates and issues on your ballot (not just the presidential race), make informed decisions and wear your “I voted” sticker with pride.