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How Can I Navigate Election Anxiety ?

It should come to no surprise that we are weeks away from our 2020 election. The political climate in the United States is HOT and no matter what side you stand on, the anxiety of what will come is REAL.

The American Psychological Association (APA) has reported that 56% of Adults have reported increased levels of anxiety pertaining to the upcoming election. This is a 52% increase from the 2016 election. If you are part of this statistic, you are far from alone!

Anxiety is a danger signal. Is it there to protect us from potential threats to our well-being. Our brains can be interpreting the results of this election as dangerous, depending on our views. In this case, anxiety is a ‘protective and productive’ response to the times. However, if we are paralyzed and overcome by our anxiety, it can be challenging if not nearly impossible to operate in our daily lives. 

With the political climate only getting hotter and louder, these steps will help reduce some of the anxiety that comes along with the topic of ‘the 2020 election.’

  1. Tune into the underlying message of your anxiety. Are you nervous about a certain outcome? What is it you FEAR would happen to you if that fear thought became reality? With this coming to light, what do you have power over? It can be scary to recognize our area of control- but can you pick something in which you feel you have power over in that feared situation? 
  2. Ask yourself “What do I need?” The news of the upcoming election is pretty hard to tune out of. Yes, it is important to stay informed, but that does not mean the news is ALL you consume. Do you need a break from the media? Do you need a day with a loved one away from screens or news channels? Trust me, the news will be there when you get back!
  3. Recognize your area of control. This is a tough one! Like we mentioned, it can be scary to recognize our limits of control, but it can also be rewarding. When our ‘worst case scenario’ occurs we find ourselves spiraling in our thoughts. Attempt to break this habit of rumination. When we think about what we can not control, we feel powerless and hopeless. What if we shift our focus onto our values? Compassion? Equality? Social justice? Can you feel empowered by your values?
  4. Stay active. Evidence shows that when we move we release stress that is built up in the body. It is so important to take care of yourself PARTICULARLY when you find your level of stress spiking. 
  5. Use your fixation on the election for good. The BEST way to assert your power right now is to VOTE. VOTE. VOTE. VOTE. VOTING=EMPOWERMENT. 

Remember, this election season looks very different than what we have had in the past. It is valid to feel increased levels of anxiety and stress. The stakes are high and when you find yourself getting worked up about the election outcome, follow these action items and recognize you are not alone. If you need additional support, reach out to a therapist to help you process some of these feelings.  

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