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Tag : stress

Election Day 2016: Election Stress 2016

It is Election day in America. This election seems different than many others with a lot of election stress being felt. The American Psychological Association (APA) conducted a survey looking at how this election may be resulting in significant election stress for Americans.

In particular, 52% of US adults were reporting significant election stress. Interestingly, both Republicans and Democrats were found to be equally likely  to report the election as a source of significant stress.

Stress and stress management have found to be significantly important to our well-being  both psychologically and physiologically.

The American Psychological Association offers tips to help people manage stress related to the election:

  1. Limit exposure to media  to avoid the ups and downs and instead choose regular times to update yourself keeping in mind  that you will not know the outcome until after the election is over. Fill your time with other fulfilling activities.
  2. Avoid discussing your political beliefs if there is a high likelihood of conflict arising. Be aware of how frequently you are discussing politics with friends, family members, or coworkers.
  3. Be aware of how your worrying about what might happen can lead to increased feelings of anxiety or stress. Work to remind yourself that this is not likely to be helpful to you and redirect your mind to areas that might allow you  to have the greatest impact such as being politically active.
  4. Find reassurance in the three branches of our government maintaining some semblance of stability  and avoid catastrophizing.
  5. Be sure to vote and hopefully by doing so you will feel your taking a proactive step in participating in the election cycle

It should be noted that many of these recommendations by the American Psychological Association  reflect cognitive behavioral interventions which can soothe us but also at times cover up why we are having the feelings or thoughts. Dr. Davenport finds it can also be helpful in being curious as to the origins of the unpleasant thoughts or feelings. This curious exploration can allow us to see if there’s something helpful in the origin of these feelings or thoughts to understand as well. The current nature of social media and news media have us exposed to election stimuli much more frequently than in past years and the findings from the APA suggest that the increased exposure result in increased stress.

election stress and media

Social media exposure and increased rating of election stress.

Election Stress American Psychological Association

52% of adults say the presidential election is a significant source of stress

Childhood Stress May = Impaired Reward System as Adults

Recent findings published in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience by Duke University researchers suggest a potential pathway where childhood stress may increase risk for depression or other mental health problems in adulthood.

This data is not shocking news nor is it as daunting a finding as it may seem. Our mind bases a lot of what we expect in the future on what we have lived through or expect to experince. When, as children, we have been in stressful situations that we cannot control our minds have a choice of either overcoming (fighting), protecting (flight), or freezing. these reactions can be extremely adaptive when we are young however as adults they can exacerbate a sense of being out of control of our own destiny. This tends to be a recipe for both anxiety and depression. The good news is that many of these are misguided protection attempts by our mind and with some redirection frequently we are able to find change. some of the challenge can be, that as children, change was not an option so imagining this third choice does not always come easily. This can sometimes present a certainty that there is no other way to find change. Sometimes beginning counseling can be a powerful part of this process of change and hope.

Harder exercise helps reduce stress more

It is well accepted, in both the field of psychology and medicine, that there is a powerful link between exercise and stress.

The federal government suggests a minimum of 150 min. of movement a week to maintain optimal health. However, you probably need more to most effectively combat stress.

Dr. Edward Phillips, director of the Institute of Lifestyle Medicine at the Joslin Diabetes Center, says that people who spend more time exercising are less likely to be depressed or anxious.

Despite there being a powerful pull to be told what is best for you, there is no exact science about how much exercise is best for beating stress. Frequently is powerful to find a balance between what we know is effective than others and listening to one’s own body for more personal feedback. one challenge in this is that when we feel depressed and is frequently hard to be motivated to do more. However, this can be overcome by scheduling days and times to be active while being mindful of how our body feels after the exercise and the day following.

Additionally, it can be helpful to integrate a variety of exercises to maintain diversity and interest in the activities. In a study published earlier this year, Stanford University researchers found that people who walked in a natural setting for 90 min. or less likely to obsess over negative thoughts than those who walked for a similar amount of time in a metropolitan area.

 

Wall Street Traders may need therapy.

A recent article discussed how therapy can be helpful in addressing career stress. High demand jobs, such as those in the financial sector, can be tremendously rewarding but also take a toll on well-being and our performance. Although stress can help us perform better, it does so only to a point than we see a sharp decline in performance. This decline can be self-perpetuating, as we see our effectiveness decline we are likely to try to work harder. This loop can lead to feeling out of control of our own destiny which frequently is seen with depression and can bring on anxiety.

Dr. Charles R. Davenport works as a Licensed Psychologist Charles R Davenport Psy.D. LLC with offices in Sarasota, Florida and Venice, Florida. If you or someone you care about is struggling with career related stress, anxiety, or depression please call Dr. Davenport’s office at 941-321-1971.

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