There’s no doubt about it, election season puts a different kind of stress on our nation, and the closer you are to the “inner circle,” the higher the stress level goes because of the no-stakes nature of our country’s political system—it’s all or nothing.
This year has been record breaking different in terms of placing stress on voters, as well. We began by having to winnow down the largest field of Republican candidates ever, and some longtime favorites didn't make the first cut. We’ve listened to Trump call Hillary “the devil,” threatening to throw her in prison if he’s elected, and in turn have listened to Clinton go on about how Trump is the “worst nominee put forward by a major party in modern American history.” They have talked over each other in the televised debates, run over almost every moderator who’s been brave enough to moderate the Trump/Clinton debates, and sought to tarnish each other at every turn.
Of course we’re stressed out and tired of hearing about this election!
According to a recent article, 52% of American voters are incredibly stressed out about this Presidential election, and 51% of Americans are afraid of this election’s outcome. Both sides have anxiety about the other party’s candidate winning the election. And this is affecting Americans of all ages—from the ages 70 and up voters, down to the first-time voters in the ages 18-21 range. Further, the stress is being seen across major ethnicities as well- 56% of Hispanics, 52% white, 52% Native Americans, 46% black and 43% Asian Americans are all saying that they’re struggling with very significant stress as a result of this election. If you think about it, our eyes and ears are inundated with press releases, campaign ads, debates, primaries, conventions, press conferences, articles and more over a period of about 18 months every time the Presidential election rolls around, most of which is before the actual election. That’s a really long time to be engaged in and stressed about politics.
Of course we want to be informed and participate in the system: it’s a civic duty and right as Americans to exercise our freedom to vote. So how do we manage to stay aware of the political season and gather the knowledge we need for an informed vote without getting inundated by election “noise” and cause our blood pressure to rise?
What can we do to de-stress politically?
Here are a few suggestions from your friends at Republican Coffee (and these are great tips no matter where your loyalty lies!):
- Get involved. If you’re having a hard time stewing in your seat and feel like you could do more, then take action. Make calls, hand out fliers, find a polling station or volunteer to be part of a street team. These are all productive ways to channel your angst.
- Set boundaries. If people begin talking about politics and you feel your anxiety levels going up, simply tell them, “I prefer not to discuss politics,” and leave the conversation at that.
- Simply state facts. There is so much sensationalism and emotional turmoil that can surround politics. Don’t allow yourself to get wrapped up in it – stay calm and focused with just facts that you research and find on a candidate’s stance on issues important to you.
- Take a break. Unplug. Step away from your TV, phone, tablet, the newspaper, wherever you’re getting your political jolt from and just choose not to engage in it for a specific length of time. And then do it. You’ll feel better if you do!
- Be proactive and actually exercise your right to vote. The last couple of elections have had the lowest voter turnout in recent American history. How disappointing. Making your vote count especially in this election can be a good way to put some anxiety to rest. Even if your candidate doesn’t win, you know you took part in the process and did what you could.
- Plan a fun outing. Get a movie night or dinner date on the calendar with your significant other or friends, and just do something fun! Make everyone promise to not talk politics…and if you want to raise the stakes, whoever brings it up has to pay the bill.
- Take a coffee break. You know we had to throw this one in there. J Spend a few minutes sitting with a fresh cup of hot coffee and really enjoy the moment. Take a few deep breaths. Allow your mind to wander to a place you enjoy visiting, be it the beach, the mountains, lakeside or in a big, bustling city. Allow yourself a few minutes to catch your breath before jumping back into whatever awaits.
- Remember: there is life after the election. The hype building up to election day can make almost anyone insane. Regardless of who wins, our nation has been able to peacefully transfer power from one leader to the next for over 200 years, and we have to trust that the system our Founding Fathers put in place will still work to help us maintain status as one of the greatest countries in the world.
Need a break? Try some classic Reagan Roast from Republican Coffee. Now there's a roast you can believe in!
(Sources: http://time.com/4299527/election-mental-health/, http://arstechnica.com/science/2016/10/this-horrid-presidential-election-has-52-of-voters-stressed-out/, http://www.cnbc.com/2016/10/14/election-anxiety-is-real-a-majority-of-americans-report-significant-stress-due-to-2016.html, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jonathan-alpert/6-ways-to-keep-your-sanit_b_12558352.html)