I was able to catch “The View” on TV this morning. There was a great segment that had comedian Lewis Black discussing the presidential campaign. What made this so enjoyable was the fact that you couldn’t tell which political side he supported. He made everyone laugh by sharing how exhausted he was with the whole political process. He implored, “Can’t we just vote now and be put out of our misery? Other than four people in Ohio, everyone knows who they’re going to vote for.”
I have to admit, he makes a great point. Wherever we look, we are bombarded with messages about the political campaign. It doesn’t matter where your views lie; the majority of the messages are downright negative. If I listened and internalized everything that appeared on TV, phone, newspapers and the many sources on the Internet, I could begin to believe my life was in grave danger— no matter the actual outcome of the election.
The presidential election process can be a tense, stressful time that brings many strong emotions to the surface. Of course, that’s the idea behind the messages being sent to you. They want you to feel it’s a priority to vote for their candidate. However, the negative messages being sent in the media during a high-energy campaign such as this one can impact your well-being. After a while, the constant bombardment of negative messages can lead you to feel anxious and stressed. You can begin to feel that if your candidate does not get elected, there will be dire consequences to your lifestyle.
During the last Presidential election in 2008, Psychologist Nancy Monitor noted that her patients were affected. “Many had trouble sleeping, experienced edginess, irritability, and distractions at work”. I have observed that taking part in political discussions, in the hopes of convincing others, can just add to the anxiety. Often, when two individuals fail to politically agree, each party feels compelled to enlighten the other as to why their choice is the absolute right choice. I don’t know about you, but I don’t find this process very enjoyable.
In lieu of this, I have created some stress survival tips to make it through the rest of the political season without losing your mind (or your friends):
Try to limit your exposure to the Political Campaign. If you want to be kept abreast of the campaign, allot a specific amount of time to catch up on new events and stick within that timeframe. If you have always viewed Facebook as a stress-reducer and a pleasurable activity— please beware. Facebook is crawling with strong, and often-inappropriate comments on both party’s candidates. Ten minutes spent in social media will be enough to make your blood pressure spike.
Be aware of your polarized thinking when it comes to how your view each candidate. I hate to break it to you, but neither candidate is perfect. They both are human and have their flaws. One candidate is not all bad, and one candidate is not all good. They both have their strengths and weaknesses. More importantly, you will not be doomed if your candidate does not get elected. You might be disappointed, which is healthy, but you won’t be doomed.
Refrain from futile political conversations with co-workers, family members or neighbors. Should I repeat that? Please try to internalize that each co-worker, neighbor, friend, or family member is entitled to his or her own opinion. You have absolutely nothing to gain (but stress) by having a heated conversation about your views on the upcoming election. You are not going to change their mind with your facts, knowledge, or wisdom on the topic, so stop trying.
I wish you the best of luck navigating this (sometimes stressful) Political Season and remember: no matter what you believe, JUST VOTE!