Study finds 2016 presidential election source of significant stress for more than half of Americans

Posted at 11:46 AM, Oct 14, 2016

With less than one month until Americans cast their vote for President, a new survey says the dynamic 2016 presidential election and its coverage has many of us feeling pretty stressed. 

The survey, published by the American Psychological Association, found 52 percent of American adults report that the 2016 election is a very or somewhat significant source of stress. 

The association also found that election chatter online, specifically on social media, also adds to the stress many Americans are experiencing.

As many as four in 10 adults or 38 percent say that political and cultural discussions on social media cause them stress. Also, adults surveyed who said they used social media were more likely to find the election that adults who do not use social media.

But the association behind the new data does offer tips on how to keep stress levels at bay:

  • Take some time for yourself, go for a walk, or spend time with friends and family doing things that you enjoy.
  • Avoid getting into discussions about the election if you think they have the potential to escalate to conflict. Be cognizant of the frequency with which you’re discussing the election with friends, family members or coworkers.
  • Stress and anxiety about what might happen is not productive. Channel your concerns to make a positive difference on issues you care about. Consider volunteering in your community, advocating for an issue you support or joining a local group.
  • Remember that in addition to the presidential election, there are state and local elections taking place in many parts of the country, providing more opportunities for civic involvement.Whatever happens on Nov. 8, life will go on. Our political system and the three branches of government mean that we can expect a significant degree of stability immediately after a major transition of government.
  • Avoid catastrophizing, and maintain a balanced perspective.
  • Vote. In a democracy, a citizen’s voice does matter. By voting, you will hopefully feel you are taking a proactive step and participating in what for many has been a stressful election cycle. Find balanced information to learn about all the candidates and issues on your ballot (not just the presidential race), make informed decisions and wear your “I voted” sticker with pride.