Election anxiety is causing stress for the majority of Americans

Bill Clinton, in foreground, watches the second presidential debate between Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump at Washington University, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/John Locher)

COLUMBUS (WCMH) – This year’s race for the White House is being called one of the most combative, hateful and down right nasty presidential races in history. If you’re fed up, you’re not alone. Psychologists are saying this election is stressing us out.

Research by the American Psychological Association shows that 52 percent of adults in the U.S. say this election “is a very or somewhat significant source of stress” for them. Voters here in Columbus say they agree.

“I think a lot of people feel like they’re stuck in the middle of an argument,” said voter Stephen Dickman.

“I feel like I don’t want to turn the news on,” said voter Jackie Michaelides.

The APA study shows the problem is bi-partisan.

“They’re all fearful as if it’s going to happen right now instead of in January,” said clinical counselor Judy Lair. “‘Oh, no that’s going to be our president?’ That really raises the anxiety.”

Lair says people are stressed out about this election.

“For a while, I was following it very carefully, the election, but I’ve stopped because it just gets you down,” said voter Tessa Gurney.

“I just think that the hard part for myself and many people out there is just hearing all of the negativity,” said Dickman.

Lair said people are worrying about what will happen to them, their family and friends after November 8th.

“If a certain candidate gets in that it’s all going to go bad or it’s all going to be good either way that everything is going to be changed,” she said. “That’s not realistic, life is not black and white.”

Lair said if you’re feeling stressed, start by validating your concerns without feeding your fears.

“Don’t feed the ‘Oh, no!’ if the other candidate gets in, that it’s going to be terrible,” she said.

Lair says it’s also important to live in the present, rather than fearing the future.

“This is a season that will pass,” she said. “It’s going to pass and we’re going to come to the point where we’re going to figure out whatever we have, how we’re going to work with it and move forward.”

The APA also recommends to take a proactive step forward by exercising your right to vote.

Judy Lair’s Tips to Election 2016 Stress:

  1. Validate your concerns without feeding your fears
  2. Commit to living in the present, rather than fearing the future
  3. Remind yourself of personal and corporate stories of strength, skills, abilities and resources. Believe you have the ability to weather any future hard times

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