To minimize election stress, take care of your physical health and stay socially connected, says psychologist

Simple exercise such as going outside for a walk contributes to people’s overall health, says Arthur Evans, Jr. Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Americans are tense amid possible violence at the polls. Businesses in LA have boarded up their windows just in case. There’s the threat of a stolen election — from both sides. There’s the feeling that all will not be well in our body politic for a long time after Tuesday, no matter who wins. Some call this feeling “Election Stress Disorder.” 

According to a recent survey from the American Psychological Association, more than two thirds of Americans are dealing with increased anxiety and stress around the election. In 2016, that number was just over half.

“Even though over 60% of Democrats and Republicans and Independents are saying they feel significant stress, Democrats are saying that at a rate of 74%, Republicans at 67%, and Independents at 64%,” says Arthur Evans, Jr., CEO of the American Psychological Association.

What are his recommendations for people who are feeling overwhelmed and anxious? 

One action is to set limits. “We can control how much information that we’re taking in. I think limiting social media … and other forms of media. Relying on trusted sources of information, not just going … on the internet and looking at all kinds of tweets and posts, many of which don’t have any basis in reality.”

It’s also important to take care of one’s physical health and to stay socially connected, Evans says. “What we want to do is distance ourselves physically but stay socially connected. Because that support is really important for our psychological and physical health.” 

Evans says on Tuesday night, he’s going to have an “election-free zone,” where he’ll watch movies and eat good desserts. “I’m going to be very intentional about when I want to engage in hearing the election news.” 

Credits

Guest:
Arthur Evans - Jr., PhD, clinical and community psychologist and CEO of the American Psychological Association

Host:
Madeleine Brand

Producers:
Sarah Sweeney, Michell Eloy, Amy Ta, Rosalie Atkinson, Brian Hardzinski, Angie Perrin