If election stress is getting to you, you're not alone

(HealthDay) – For most Americans, the 2020 presidential election is a major source of stress, a new statewide poll shows.

Almost seven in ten adults surveyed (68%) named the choice a significant source of stress, compared with 52% in 2016, according to the survey commissioned by the American Psychological Association (APA).

Former Vice President Joe Biden, a Democrat, is trying to oust Republican President Donald Trump in a division campaign that has focused on the president’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, the economy and widespread racial unrest.

And pre-election stress is high among people of all political backgrounds: 76% of Democrats, 67% of Republicans, and 64% of Independents, according to the poll.

Arthur Evans Jr., APA’s chief executive officer, said this was an election year like no other.

“Not only are we in the midst of a global pandemic that kills more than 200,000 Americans, but we are also facing increasing division and hostility over the presidential election,” Evans said in an APA press release.

“Add to this the racial turmoil in our cities, the unstable economy, and climate change that have led to widespread forest fires and other natural disasters. The result is an accumulation of stressors that put Americans under physical and emotional stress,” Evans said.

However, some groups feel the stress more acutely than in 2016, according to the survey. For example, 71% of black adults said this choice was a source of stress compared to 46% four years ago.

Adults with chronic conditions are also more likely than those without one to say that this choice is stressful (71% versus 64%). During the 2016 campaign, rates were lower in both groups (55% versus 45%).

And the stress that has increased over the past year goes beyond the choice itself.

In 2020, 77% of respondents said they were stressed out about the future of the United States, up from 66% in 2019.

The survey of more than 3,400 adults was conducted online by The Harris Poll from August 4th to 26th, 2020.

If you have election-related stress, there are steps you can take to relieve it, advised the APA.

Avoid doing things that you cannot control and focus on what you can control. Limit your media exposure. Do activities that you enjoy and get involved in things that are important to you, suggested the experts.

Stay socially connected. Go for a walk or hang out with friends and family. Stay or get active – physical activity helps release energy from stress.

“Doc, this choice is killing me!”

More information:
The US National Institute of Mental Health has more to do with stress.

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