APA Shared Helpful Tips For Reducing 2016 Presidential Election-Related Stress

By Theena - 17 Oct '16 23:14PM

"Are you a Republicans or a Democrats?" is the common question we usually asked as the 2016 Presidential Election is fast approaching. In an early preview of data of the American Psychological Association's annual stress in America, the poll shows that whether you are a Republicans or Democrats your stress is significantly related to the 2016 presidential election. But wait there's more as APA did not just stop on giving us statistics but they also shared helpful tips for reducing this election-related stress.

What Survey Says?

 "We're seeing that it doesn't matter whether you're registered as a Democrat or Republican - U.S. adults say they are experiencing significant stress from the current election," said Lynn Bufka, Ph.D., APA's associate executive director for practice research and policy.

Harris Poll conducted this survey in August among adults 18 years old and above living in the U.S.  The survey shows that 52 percent of American adults indeed view the 2016 presidential election as a very or somewhat significant source of stress. In fact, the survey revealed that social media appears to affect Americans' stress levels when it comes to the election and related topics.

"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," said Bufka.

APA Tips

The APA has also shared helpful tips for reducing election-related stress. These include limiting media exposure, engaging in community efforts related to political beliefs, avoiding potentially tense discussions, relaxing with loved ones, and, ultimately, voting.

Details of the tips are the following:

  • 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.

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