Election Stress Disorder

Election Stress Disorder

Photograph courtesy of https://www.verywellmind.com/

A new term has been coined recently in the psychology community: ESD or “Election Stress Disorder.” It is best defined as the feelings of disruptive anxiety that one experiences in the time leading up to an election. This is directly related to the options provided candidate-wise this year, but even more so, it can be related to the pressures of voting “correctly” considering the high stakes. It makes a great deal of sense that ESD would be an issue now, and it all comes down to the consideration of our presidential candidates. The options that remain are nothing short of disappointing, put plainly. There is also an increased amount of focus on the candidate and current president of the United States, Donald J. Trump. The largest amount of anxiety surrounds the fear that he will be re-elected this coming November and that America will continue to spiral downwards as a country for another four years under his guidance. Many worry about just how much their lives will be affected with consideration to healthcare, immigration, pollution, taxes, gun policies, the police system and many other important executive and legislative policies, should Trump have any say in what goes through and what does not.

Thankfully, there is still some hope. With the recent vice presidential debate, very important topics were addressed that caught the attention of the nation, including but not limited to: the results of the trial for Breonna Taylor, the Black Lives Matter movement, abortion and global warming. The different styles of debating were clear between Kamala Harris and Mike Pence, respectively, and provided a great deal of insight into the depth of the presidential options. This means that the decision on who to vote for has become easier for some people, though for others, the anxiety has only increased alongside the election’s intensity.

As with any other type of stress, it is important that the source is addressed by any attempts to relieve the symptoms. This means that while it is okay to turn to activities that provide joy and distraction from the intensity of the 2020 presidential election, it may be more beneficial in the long run to consider why this election makes one anxious. It may also help to consciously encourage actions that bring security in the situation. One effective way is to map out a plan of who to vote for and why in order to address the controllable factors first. It is impossible to completely control the actions of others to best benefit one’s needs, so it is important to focus on oneself during these times of increased anticipation. Vote as soon as possible to further remove that stressor from one’s mind.

It might also help to avoid the onslaught of tweets from Trump but Americans have all been aware of this for four years.