(CBS4) – If you’re feeling particularly stressed out about the election, you’re not the only one. A survey done by The Harris Poll on behalf of the American Psychological Association found more than two-thirds of Americans (68%) say the election is a significant source of stress.
That’s a large increase from the 2016 election, when 52% said the same.
The survey also found regardless of political affiliation, the majority of people report having election stress (76% of Democrats, 67% of Republicans, and 64% of Independents). CBS4 Medical Editor Dr. Dave Hnida says he’s not surprised by the poll.
“I mean, we’ve got COVID going on, we’ve had civil unrest, we’ve had fires and then you throw in a contentious election on top of it, and it’s enough to make you feel like you are really struggling with your mental health.”
Dr. Dave says one of the biggest differences with this election is the constant stream of new information coming in all of the time.
“We’ve got breaking news hitting us 24-7 and so we really are being inundated and there’s this great sense of uncertainty,” says Dr. Dave. “I think there are so many issues that are just making us so concerned and feeling so uneasy like never before.”
The Harris Poll also found adults with a chronic condition are more likely to say the election is a very significant source of stress for them (39% in 2020 vs. 20% in 2016).
“If you have an underlying issue plus anxiety or depression or insomnia, all of those things are going to get worse in a situation like this,” says Dr. Dave. “You’re going to really need to take care of yourself, as well as seek help in making sure that those issues are being controlled, and that you are being taken care of.”
So what are the best ways to avoid election stress and anxiety? Dr. Dave says the first step is to limit your exposure to election information.
“You basically cannot, you know, overdose on news and Twitter and social media and everything else. You limit your screen time for your kids, you’re going to have to do it for yourself as well.”
The second step to limiting stress is to make sure you are physically and mentally taking care of yourself.
“Having quiet time, having some exercise, whether it be very extreme exercise or just a simple walk,” says Dr. Dave. “Make sure you’ve got a good support system. Ensure you have people who maybe you can get together with and you don’t talk politics.”
Dr. Dave’s final tip is to have a plan.
“Vote. Get it done, get control, have a say over how things are being determined in our future,” says Dr. Dave. “Despite the fact this is a very contentious time, I’ve got a lot of hope in the fact our country is a strong country, it’s a good country. There is hopefulness despite the fact that things are not looking very good right now. I think when all is said and done, because we are Americans, this will turn out just fine.”