Does an Electoral Process Affect People’s Emotional Wellbeing?

BY: Neighbors’ Consejo|

On November 8, elections were held in the United States, an event that undoubtedly focused the attention of the world and especially Americans, who shared different emotions, which makes us wonder how these electoral processes affect emotional wellbeing of people? 

The article “Political polarization is affecting mental health, and patients want therapist who share their views[LP1] ”, by Elisa Brietzke, explains how from her professional point of view as a therapist, she has found that more and more patients want to talk and express their feelings about political issues, which, through social networks, have increased even more. She affirms that “political stress on mental health deserves to be probed more deeply, especially using systematic approaches. For example, we don’t know yet if political stress causes a health impact similar to the one observed in other situations of chronic stress”.

On the other hand, in one study “Politics is making us sick: “The negative impact of political engagement on public health during the Trump administration[LP2] ”, conducted in 2019, almost 40% of Americans said that politics was a source of significant anxiety, insomnia and even suicidal thoughts. The negative impact was more prominent in those who were young, politically engaged or opposed to the government.

That is why Dr. Cynthia Ackrill, an editor for “Contentment” magazine, produced by the American Institute give us some tips for cope with the elections[LP3] :

  1. Recharge your batteries, says Dr. Tania María Caballero, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “When we think about others expressions of anger, especially on a virtual platform, I remind myself that in order to have a flame from a spark, you need to add more sparks. If you do not fuel the angry spark, you cannot start a fire”.
  2. Let us get physical: “Exercise will reduce those built-up stress chemicals, especially if it is outdoors among trees”, said Dr. Ackrill.
  3. Try to relax-even meditate: “Think about what activities really boost your mental energy. Then remind yourself that thoughts are not reality”, said Neuroscientist Richard Davidson, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin.
  4. Sleep: “Good quality sleep helps boost our mood and feeds our creativity and cognitive function, which means we will be better able to problem solve, make decisions and pay attention”.
  5. Do not stuff your emotions: Dr. Ackrill recommended “do not should on yourself. There is no particular way you should feel and rewriting the story, as somehow your fault does not help. Whatever you are feeling is real for you”.
  6. Practice positives: “To keep us safe, our brain has about five times the wiring for the negative, so you have to really practice the positive”, said Dr. Ackrill.

For all these reasons, we remind you that when you participate in the democratic process, give your first vote to your own mental wellbeing.





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