(CBS Newspath) – With just weeks to go before the election, chances are you or someone you know is feeling stressed or anxious about the results.
“I’m getting a lot of emergency calls on resentment and anger,” says couples therapist Dr. Steven Stosny. He says stress over the election is causing many Americans to fight with their spouses, friends, and co-workers. During the 2016 election, he coined a term for it, “election stress disorder,” and he says this year, the anxiety is even worse.
“Anxiety makes you feel powerless, and resentment or anger makes you feel temporarily more empowered,” Dr. Stosny says. We often turn that resentment and anger on the people closest to us.
Many people CBS News spoke with say they can’t help but get caught in political fights. “I try to avoid it, but sometimes you have to respond to what they’re saying,” one person says. Another says, “The election’s only a month away, so it’s gonna get more and more and more intense.”
Dr. Stosny says you can reduce your anxiety with exercise, writing your feelings down, and by avoiding social media, and resisting the urge to argue with others.
Marsha Palanci says she was “pretty zen” about the election until she watched the debates. “…then that went out the window and I have been incredibly stressed,” she says. Now, she avoids social media and resists the urge to argue with others. “I’m very careful not to bring up politics, otherwise that would be the end of the friendship, it would just be too volatile,” she says.
If you do find yourself in an argument, try and keep it respectful. It’s healthier for you and your relationships. Experts say the extended COVID lockdowns greatly add to our stress- the election just amplifies it even further.
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