How to cope with anxiety caused by 2016 election

The 2016 election is causing a high amount of stress and anxiety for 52 percent of American adults, according to an American Psychological Association survey.

“We’re seeing that it doesn’t matter whether you’re registered as a Democrat or Republican — U.S. adults say they are experiencing significant stress from the current election,” said Lynn Bufka, PhD, APA’s associate executive director for practice research and policy.

The survey also states that across party lines, those registered as Democrats (55 percent) and Republicans (59 percent) are statistically equally likely to say the election is a very or somewhat significant source of stress.

In order to help individuals cope with the amount of stress the election is bringing, the APA survey has offered up five tips to help people manage their stress levels.

• If the 24-hour news cycle of claims and counterclaims from the candidates is causing you stress, limit your media consumption. Read just enough to stay informed. Turn off the newsfeed or take a digital break. Take some time for yourself, go for a walk, or spend time with friends and family doing things that you enjoy.

• Avoid getting into discussions about the election if you think they have the potential to escalate to conflict. Be cognizant of the frequency with which you’re discussing the election with friends, family members or coworkers.

• Stress and anxiety about what might happen is not productive. Channel your concerns to make a positive difference on issues you care about. Consider volunteering in your community, advocating for an issue you support or joining a local group. Remember that in addition to the presidential election, there are state and local elections taking place in many parts of the country, providing more opportunities for civic involvement.

• Whatever happens on Nov. 8, life will go on. Our political system and the three branches of government mean that we can expect a significant degree of stability immediately after a major transition of government. Avoid catastrophizing, and maintain a balanced perspective.

• Vote. In a democracy, a citizen’s voice does matter. By voting, you will hopefully feel you are taking a proactive step and participating in what for many has been a stressful election cycle. Find balanced information to learn about all the candidates and issues on your ballot (not just the presidential race), make informed decisions and wear your “I voted” sticker with pride.

The American Psychological Association also states that nearly four in 10 adults say that political and cultural discussions on social media cause them stress. Is the 2016 election stressing you out?  Tweet your thoughts to #fox5dc or send us a message on Facebook.

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