When the 2016 election took place, 52 percent of American adults reported that it was a very or somewhat significant source of stress, according to an online survey conducted by the American Psychological Association.
The organization polled more than 3,500 participants of voting age and found that a variety of confrontation-related factors contributed to rising anxiety levels.
Interestingly, the stress surrounding the presidential race wasn't a partisan issue. According to APA researchers, the increase in anxiety spanned across all party lines, with 55 percent of registered Democrats and 59 percent of registered Republicans claiming that the election was a source of stress.
If the craziness of election season is affecting your anxiety, here are some healthy suggestions for how to reduce your stress levels.
Drop that remote, stop reading your Aunt Sue’s overly opinionated Facebook post and step away from your phone. Unplugging is super important. Go take a walk or put on some music to relax. Clear your mind and focus on something else.
Show Some Compassion
A little compassion goes a long way. Research shows that generosity is cyclical: kindness makes you happier, and happiness makes you kind. Try to engage in that behavior when you’re stressed about the negativity of the news. Volunteer at a local hospital, an animal shelter or a food bank. Do something nice for someone else – even if it’s just overly opinionated Aunt Sue!
Turn your anxiety into something productive. Go out for a run, get in a work out or even play with balloons. Channel your energy into cleaning out that old closet in the back room that you haven’t touched since Hillary Clinton’s husband ran for president.
You don’t have to engage in political discussions with colleagues, friends or relatives. Simply say, “I prefer not to discuss politics” and leave it at that.
Check in with Your Physician
If you’re feeling chronic stress — for any reason — it’s always a good idea to check in with a healthcare professional. Excess anxiety can lead to high blood pressure, heart problems and many other issues.