The Future of America Leaves Many Stressed

With many stressed after the election, here are some ways to help manage your symptoms.

Medically reviewed in July 2022

A new poll from the American Psychological Association (APA) reveals that 57 percent of Americans say that politics are a large source of stress. The stress is elevated even more when reports of terrorist acts, police violence and personal safety fears blanket news and social media outlets.

A prior survey from October 2016 found that 4 in 10 American adults said that social media like Twitter and Instagram played a significant role in their stress.

What is stress and how does it affect us?
Stress is a physical reaction to increasing demands in our lives like work, money and even politics. When the brain processes this feeling, it causes the body to respond in a fight-or-flight way, including increased stress hormones and faster breathing.

Stress also causes symptoms like headaches, muscle tension and lack of energy. While these are the most common signs, others include:

  • Lightheadedness
  • Nervous habits like fidgeting or pacing
  • Body pains like stomach aches or nausea
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Increases in activities like smoking or drinking

How can we alleviate stress?
You don’t have to let political stress affect your day-to-day; there are ways to get relief. First, the APA suggests limiting your media consumption and avoiding presidential discussions. If the stress continues to affect other areas of your life, like relationships or work, try the following:

  • Make time for a more restful sleep (seven to nine hours a night is best).
  • Keep an optimistic attitude and laugh when you can.
  • Engage in relaxing activities like reading or exercising.
  • Create positive connections with people.
  • Give back to your community through charities or volunteer work.
  • Reduce your intake of alcohol and caffeine.

If you still feel stress is negatively impacting your life, you may also talk to a physician or therapist for help in managing your symptoms.

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