Is election stress making you feel anxious?
One of the reasons elections create stress is that they are by design uncertain. We don’t know who will win and we potentially upend our government every four years. Uncertainty triggers stress. Democracy in action seems pretty stressful right now when it is placed on top of a global pandemic, an economic downturn, an increasing awareness of systemic racism. That is a giant uncertainty sandwich!
Key points to reduce election stress.
- Taking control of something. In my research, when things feel out of control (uncertain) taking control of something reduces stress. It doesn’t even have to be something big. I think this is one of the reasons many of us organized our garages and basements when the pandemic started. Putting things in order makes us feel in control.
- Election stress is powered by marketing messages – you don’t have to participate. Marketing messages are designed to elicit an emotional response. Whether the ad makes you feel warm and fuzzy or upset, video marketing taps into your emotions. Scrolling through Facebook or watching television opens the door to a bombardment of messages. Do what you can to limit your exposure.
- You don’t have to talk about politics. There are so many other topics we can discuss. I’m not saying this election isn’t important. It is very important. But, at this point, you’ve probably decided where you stand and so have other people. Conversation doesn’t have to be about convincing that person you are right. On our sailing team, we don’t talk about politics. It is a rule. How we vote has no influence on how well we perform as a team.
- Ask yourself, “What if this is the best decision for them?” Their decision is based on something. Even if you completely disagree on the basis, we each get to choose how to cast our ballot.
No matter what happens on November 3rd, the sun will still rise, the earth will still turn. Some people will be happy, some others will not. We will all still have work to do as citizens of this democracy. Go vote. If you voted, disengage from the messaging. Be kind to one another.
Don’t let election stress tank your relationships or your quality of life.