OPINION: Don’t let election stress get to you

Many people are experiencing stress as a result of the election; it’s up to us to combat those feelings



Stress and the election seem to go hand in hand, but it doesn’t have to be that way.


This election has been one of the most riveting in a long time. It’s a presidential election during a historical pandemic affecting millions of people living in America.

This year’s election will more than likely go down in the history books as one of the most stressful elections. A recent survey from the American Psychological Association determined 68 percent of U.S. adults say the 2020 election has been the source of significant stress in their life.

Joshua Munroe, doctoral candidate in WSU’s School of Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs, said the pandemic has caused this election year to be different and is a factor for why it has been a stressful election.

Elections normally cause a part of the population to have some anxious feelings about who may be voted into office or what bills will or won’t be passed. The pandemic has altered many people’s lives. Who is elected into office will determine how the pandemic will be handled in the next year.

Munroe said another reason why people may be stressed is the increased polarization of popular political issues.

“Our political elites, the people we elect to office, they are more polarized on issues than they have been for the last hundred plus years,” Munroe said. “For us voters, a lot of that comes through how we consume political information and who we’re able to talk to. We tend to sort ourselves into like-minded groups.”

The country’s politics have become more polarized over the years, and it is partially because of how our society communicates information. This can be done in many ways, from TV news programs to social media. Many of us lack constructive conversations with people who have opposing views.

Greg Keiser, clinical psychology doctoral student, said people worry about elections because they consider the potential consequences.

In any election voters participate in, we think about what could possibly happen if one person is elected into office, or if a certain bill passes. We consider how this could impact us or those around us. These are important ideas to think about when voting. We should also remind ourselves to try and avoid getting too anxious about outcomes we do not know yet and outcomes we cannot necessarily control.

“We want to think about ‘Is that worry helping me or is that hurting me?’” Keiser said. “‘Is it helping motivate me to do something about the things I’m concerned about, the issues I care about, or is it just making me miserable?’”

Being stressed is normal. Many of us have dealt with stress in various circumstances and we each have our own way of handling it. However, not everyone can find a way to manage their stress, especially during election time when politics are constantly discussed everywhere.

Keiser said ways to help with stress and anxiety is setting a specific time to worry, taking action such as voting or getting involved in something you are anxious about and seek support from others.

As election day is happening and votes are being counted, we are all anxiously awaiting to hear the results. We should remember whatever happens is going to happen, and it is okay to have different emotions based on what occurs.

In general, this year has been one of the craziest in my life and probably for others as well. This election is just another event making it more insane and it adds to the stress millions of Americans already have.

It is important to know we are not alone on this roller coaster of events, and we should try to focus on the good rather than the bad.