Ways to reduce Election Day stress, anxiety

With an uptick in the number of Americans seeking professional help due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, many are concerned about the role that a contentious presidential election may play in our nation’s well-being. There are several ways to calm anxiety and fears heading into Tuesday, one expert said, including practicing mindfulness in the days beforehand.

“Practicing mindfulness and connecting your mind and body through activities such as yoga, journaling or going for a walk can be especially beneficial right now to alleviate stress,” Dr. Barbara Nosal, PhD, LMFG, LADC, and chief clinical officer at Newport Institute, told Fox News. “Exercise can also help alleviate stress because it releases endorphins which can make you feel more positive.”

Limiting social media, especially if it tends to rile up the emotions, is also a good idea, Nosal said.

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“Social media use during high-stress events can often lead to feelings of depression, anxiety, insomnia, isolation and fatigue,” Nosal said. “’Doomscrolling’ can often occur in scenarios like this when we are surrounded by and continuously reading or scrolling through bad news, even when it is disheartening or depressing.”

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Replacing the scrolling and unfiltered opinions of others with a positive activity, like listening to music that brings you joy or watching a movie or reading a book, can also help alleviate the stress and feelings of anxiousness.

And when you do check in on the results, be sure to “consider the source of your information,” Nosal said.

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“One key to your wellness is staying present and grounded in the moment by focusing on what you can control,” Nosal said. “We can control our one vote, but the election results are out of our control.”

She added that once your vote is cast, “recognize the need to let it go and resist putting energy into the outcome given you cannot change it.”