TUCSON, Ariz. - Does the thought of election day make you feel keyed up and anxious? You’re not alone. Mental health professionals are seeing more people seriously worried about the election. But there are things you can do to ease off the stress.
Election year will always crank up people who live and breathe politics. But this election can feel like it’s amping up the anxieties for other people too.
As director of therapy services for CODAC Jonathan Kandell hears what’s weighing on people’s minds. He says not everyone’s feeling stress from this election year but some clients definitely are.
“I think it's folks that are not normally political. Our clients are not normally political and are a little more anxious, just because I think it's in the news more, there's more at stake, there's a virus around. So, yes, I definitely think it's more than usual.”
He says it is hard to separate politics from COVID-19 and some anxiety is natural when the stakes are so personal.
“It's not just like, oh my taxes go up $1 or something like that. It's real. My family member gets sick so that's, again, that's not a bad thing to be more anxious about that. That's your body's way of saying, Look at the issues and decide who to vote for.”
Kandell says you can reduce your election anxiety and anxiety in general by channeling that anxious energy into things that give you a sense of control.
“So for instance, if you value being a mom really put your energy into being a good mom. You have that energy from the anxiety, and you can control it if you say play with your kids or read to them. So you can take that energy, view it as a gift almost and channel it into something you can control.”
He says channeling energy into working for a candidate may give you a sense of control that reduces anxiety, and recommends the perspective that comes with a simple saying:
“This too shall pass. I mean as tense as things seem right now, everything passes with time. And sometimes we have to remind ourselves of that. Just give ourselves a gentle reminder that with time most things get better.”