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Do you have Election Anxiety?

With the final debate only a few hours away the topic of election anxiety has been rearing it’s head in staggering numbers here at the Noyau offices, and across the country.  This years election season has proven to be the most emotionally trying event of its kind, hence the rise in anxiety symptoms.  While worry and anxiety are normal parts of the human experience, the increased levels of fear, anger, confusion, and isolation stemming from this sh*# show, I mean election, are becoming unmanageable for many Americans.

So how is Election Anxiety different from typical concern or strong feelings about our candidates?  In truth it isn’t all that different, but what is different is the level at which these very normal feelings are experienced.  We all have that friend who get emphatic when discussing politics but election anxiety is when that feeling begins to interfere with our other, more enjoyable emotions.  If you are experiencing some of these symptoms you may be suffering from election anxiety.
  • Difficulty feeling hopeful about the future
  • Fearful about what will happen if your candidate loses
  • Feeling in “limbo” or waiting to make long term decisions until after the election
  • Intense moments of anger or rage when thinking about the election or a candidate
  • Having flashbacks to prior traumatic events (sexual assault, personal violence, emotional abuse or trauma) when watching campaign footage or thinking about the election
  • Struggle to stop thinking about the election
If you are saying “Yes! Yes!  That’s me!” you are not alone and not without resources to call upon when these feelings become overwhelming.  Here are a few things you can do on your own to help manage this discomfort.
  • Avoid social media, and election coverage in general.  Surrounding yourself with these topics will lead you to maximize the negative emotions associated.
  • Go Vote.  Vote early and let your anxiety stay in the voting booth.  This will help you feel empowered by being able to take some kind of action to effect change in the direction you want.
  • Excuse yourself from political conversations or debates with friends and family.  Whether or not they are in agreement with you, this conversation is likely to lead to your feeling like a catastrophe is imminent (even when it is not).
  • Practice exceptional self-care.  These next few weeks may agitate those already pressing feelings of anxiety so self-care is of the utmost importance right now.  Exercise regularly, engage in your favorite hobby, connect with friends, treat yourself to something.  This will also empower and relax you as election day draws near.
  • Talk with professional.  This especially applies to those suffering from Post Traumatic symptoms.  If this election is bring back painful and traumatic moments from your past a trained therapist can help you process these feelings and work with you to get back to a place of peace.
Election anxiety is more common than you may realize, so remember that you are not alone in this.  Watching the soap opera like stunts between the candidates is going to cause us all stress, but thankfully the resiliency of the human spirit is fierce and can overcome this difficult time in our country.
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