- Rob Ludacer
Breaking: This is a miserable presidential election.
The tone has gotten ugly in ways that are painful and difficult to watch. It’s hard to imagine it not affecting the national mood. And a Harris poll commissioned by the American Psychological Association confirms it: 52% of US adults “report the 2016 election is a very or somewhat significant source of stress.”
The effect appears powerful among Democrats, Republicans, men, women, younger people, and older people. At least we can all agree on this, it seems: We’re very stressed out about this election.
The only demographic that makes a major difference in stress levels: social media engagement. Fifty-four percent of social media users say the election is a stressor in their lives, while 45% of nonusers say the same.
Turn off the TV and Facebook, and read “just enough to stay informed.”
- Thomas Leuthard/Flickr
“If the 24-hour news cycle of claims and counterclaims from the candidates is causing you stress,” the APA writes, “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.”
Stay away from pointless arguments.
- Iakov Filimonov/shutterstock
“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.”
Focus on making a positive impact on the world.
- Thomson Reuters
“Stress and anxiety about what might happen is 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.”
Remember that there are people who limit a president’s power.
- Allison Shelley/Getty
“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.”
- Lucy Nicholson/Reuters
“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.”