election stress is dangerous for professional women

Election Stress Dangerous For Professional Women

Could the election stress put heart health at risk?

Due to election stress caused by an unprecedented level of turmoil in the 2016 presidential race, professional women may find themselves, and their hearts, in danger. More than 60 percent of professional women report a high level of stress on an average day, and nearly 20 percent report an acute level of stress in our job stress study. Stress at these levels already increases the risk of heart disease and heart attack, which is one reason workplace stress induced cardiovascular disease is recognized as a global epidemic.  Election stress increases these risks.

2016 Election Significant Source of Stress

More than half of American adults are experiencing significant stress as the result of news stories, social media posts, ads, and arguments about the election, according to an American Psychological Association survey. Regardless of party affiliation, this election is ramping up stress levels.  For already at-risk professional women, this increase in emotional stress is of particular concern.

Emotional Stress More Dangerous for Women

Decreased blood flow to the heart, or myocardial ischemia, causes heart attacks. While the decrease in blood flow is often caused by blockages in the arteries leading to the heart, it can also be caused by emotional stress. Women are twice as likely to reduced blood flow to the heart due to stress than men. Even more concerning, physical exertion while angry, or emotionally stressed, can triple the risk of heart attack. The increased pressure on already constricted blood vessels can be deadly.  In other words, an intense run may not be the best way to deal with anger or stress created by election coverage or conversation.  Paying attention to stress levels and watching for danger signs is critical.

election stress is dangerous for professional women

Danger Signs For Professional Women:

Symptoms of heart attacks in women can be very subtle, but most women report some signs that something is wrong. Women with additional risk factors for heart disease including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, and smoking should be especially vigilant.

Don’t ignore danger signs such as:

  • Any unusual pain in the jaw, neck, shoulder, torso
  • Uncomfortable pressure, burning or squeezing in the chest
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Cold sweat
  • Nausea

Any of these could be a sign of a heart attack. Play it safe and call 911 to get help right away.

Reducing Election Stress:

  • Limit Social Media… for a while:
    People who use social media are more likely to find the election stressful according to the American Psychological Association survey. Rather than taking the clickbait all day, limit yourself to a short time on social media and click through on a few trusted sources.
  • Vote and Disengage:
    Most states offer early voting.  Take advantage, even if you are undecided.  You’ll need to decide at some point, and belaboring will likely cause more stress.  Vote, pat yourself on the back for participating in our democracy, and then step away.
  • Use Recovery Strategies:
    Give your body a break from the stress with a walk outside, a restful night’s sleep, a good laugh, or one of the recovery strategies in this infographic.
  • Take The Long View:
    The world will still turn on its axis after election day.  Life and work will continue.  Be kind to yourself and to those around you.

Fortunately, the stress caused by the election is likely temporary.  However, the high stress levels of professional women will still need to be addressed.  Putting good stress recovery strategies in place now, and paying attention to stress levels, will build good habits for the future.


About the Author Eliz Greene

A top female motivation speaker and author Eliz Greene is ridiculously excited about stress. Surviving a heart attack at age 35 while seven months pregnant with twins propelled Eliz on a mission to share her story to inspire other busy people to pay attention to their health. Eliz is dedicated to leading others on a path to lower stress and great success. Her stress management keynote is a great fit for closing a conference. Find out more at www.ElizGreene.com

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