6 Ways to cope with Election Stress Disorder:

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Navigating the 2024 Election Season with Resilience

As we approach the 2024 election season, many politically engaged people are
experiencing heightened levels of stress, anxiety, and uncertainty. The constant barrage
of political news, divisive rhetoric, and the high stakes of the election can take a toll on
mental health and well-being. It’s time to explore effective coping strategies to help
individuals navigate Election Stress Disorder and prioritize their mental wellness during
this challenging time.

Understanding Election Stress Disorder:

Election Stress Disorder is an unofficial term. It was coined by Steven Stosny, a couples
therapist to describe a new outpouring of stress, anger and anxiety he was seeing in his
practice in Maryland during the 2016 campaign. It’s 2024 and the divisive political
climate is still with us. The term is used to describe the emotional and psychological
distress that individuals may experience in response to political events, particularly
during election seasons. The intense media coverage, polarization of opinions, and fear
of the unknown can trigger a range of symptoms, including anxiety, irritability, insomnia,
and feelings of helplessness. Recognizing the signs of Election Stress Disorder is the
first step towards implementing coping strategies to better manage these symptoms.
Coping Strategies for Election Stress Disorder:

  1. Limit Media Consumption:
    One of the most effective ways to reduce election-related stress is to limit your exposure
    to political news and social media. Constantly checking the news or engaging in heated
    political debates online can exacerbate feelings of anxiety and overwhelm. Set
    boundaries around your media consumption and prioritize sources that provide
    balanced and factual information.
  2. Practice Self-Care:
    Taking care of your physical and emotional well-being is crucial during times of
    heightened stress. Engage in activities that help you relax and unwind, such as exercise, meditation, reading, or spending time in nature. Make self-care a priority by
    getting enough sleep, eating nutritious foods, and staying connected with supportive
    friends and family members.

  1. Stay Informed but Set Limits:
    While it’s important to stay informed about political developments, try to strike a balance
    between being informed and feeling overwhelmed. Set specific times during the day to
    catch up on the news, and consider subscribing to newsletters or podcasts that provide
    thoughtful analysis and context, rather than sensationalized headlines.
  2. Engage in Positive Activities:
    Focus on activities that bring you joy and fulfillment, outside of politics. Whether it’s
    pursuing a hobby, volunteering for a cause you care about, or spending time with loved
    ones, engaging in positive activities can help shift your focus away from election-related
    stressors and boost your mood.
  3. Practice Mindfulness and Stress-Relief Techniques:
    Mindfulness practices, such as deep breathing, meditation, and yoga, can help calm
    your mind and reduce feelings of anxiety.
  4. Seek Help:
    Therapists can use evidence based treatments such as Cognative Behavioral
    Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment symptoms of Therapy to help with
    persistant political anxiety and can teach progressive muscle relaxation can
    help mitigate the physiological mindfulness and relaxation techniques to help
    clients stay grounded.

Coping with Election Stress Disorder is essential for maintaining mental and emotional
well-being during tumultuous political times. By practicing self-care, staying informed
through reliable sources, engaging in healthy discussions, and seeking support when
needed, you can better navigate the stress and anxiety that often accompany elections.
Remember that it is okay to feel overwhelmed, but taking proactive steps to manage
these feelings can make a significant difference in your overall mindset and outlook.

Stay informed, stay connected, and prioritize your mental health as you navigate the
ever-changing political landscape.