Ways To Cope With Your Election Anxiety

If you are feeling stressed out about the election, I am right there with you. Every time I think about what is at stake in this election, I feel like I’m suffocating. With the increased amount of natural disasters in the past year that has altered the lives of those affected drastically and made the threat of global warming more visible for us all, it has become clear that this election will determine our future. Will we start to become whole again as a nation, or will our unraveling continue? It’s incredibly overwhelming for everyone. 70% of adults in the U.S. say that the presidential election is a significant source of stress. That’s up 18% from 2016. This election is, rightfully, all-consuming. It’s also a defining moment in our country’s history. The stakes are high, and the anxiety for many is even higher. Here are three things I’m doing to cope:

Stop Doomscrolling

sign on phone stating Social Media harms your mental health Photo by Christopher Ott from Unsplash I often find myself scrolling through Twitter, becoming consumed by all of the horrible things going on in the world. As important as it is to stay plugged in and informed about current events, doomscrolling occurs when we become consumed by bad news and feel like we can’t pull ourselves away from it. Most of the time we don’t realize we’re even doing it, but it’s important to recognize because it is extremely harmful. It can increase depression, anxiety and isolation, make us miserable and alter our world view. So, what do you do when you catch yourself doomscrolling? Well, I read one piece of good news for every bad story I read to remind myself everything is about balance. I subscribe to The Good Newspaper, a newspaper dedicated to reminding us of the good in people around the world, and I try to stay up to date on young people who are making positive change and standing up for what they believe in.

Prepare for Uncertainty

One of the most stressful things about this election is the fact that we may not know who the winner is on election night. It could take days or weeks for all 50 states to verify their ballots. This is very intimidating because we may now have a period of uncertainty following a long and hard year of campaigning. We need to ready ourselves for this by remembering that no matter what happens on election night, nothing is final until all states verify. Meaning, it’s ok to let ourselves be hopeful before and after November 3rd. According to USA Today, “Hope provides resilience… It offers chemical benefits too, in the form of endorphins and lowered stress levels, things, experts say, make people more productive.” Let’s remember it’s not 2016. Despite how many comparisons we see, we have the opportunity to make this election’s outcome different through the power of action and hope and our vote.

Turn Anxiety Into Action

If you’re feeling stressed out, help ease that stress by having conversations with other voters about the election. It’s not too late! You can join phone-banking programs, text-banking programs, make sure your friends and family have a voting plan, work as a poll worker, hand out water to people waiting in line to vote. Every little action counts. We can’t take anything for granted this election, so it’s important that we are something about the things that are giving us election anxiety if we are able to.

It’s ok to feel stressed out about this upcoming election because there is a lot riding on it. Our worries are valid and warranted, but we deserve to have some peace of mind as well. We can stay tuned in and prioritize our mental health. We can feel anxious about election night uncertainty and stay hopeful that compassion will win over hate. We can feel stuck and use our hope to power us forward into action. As the popular saying goes, “It’s not over until it’s over.” And as annoyingly vague as that saying is, it’s true. We can’t stop fighting until it’s over.

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