What you can do to protect your Health against Election 2016.
This election is bad for your health.
As much as we may want to tune out and pretend that this is either a reality show or another Shonda Rhimes creation that has us tearing our hair out with each episode, this is all really happening.
This is really the election for President of the United States in 2016.
This election is toxic, frustrating, and may cause multiple health issues such as anxiety, depression, and heart attacks. Election 2016 is like a virus that just keeps spreading and infecting people all over the country.
Merriam-Webster defines toxic as: containing or being poisonous material especially when capable of causing death or serious debilitation
OK that may be a little dramatic but check out another definition: extremely harsh, malicious, or harmful. BINGO!!
This election is toxic. It’s poisoning our minds against all institutional government, politicians, and each other. Some of the terrible things that are being said during this election cycle will haunt this nation for a very long time.
Frustration may be an understatement when it comes to the election. Daily I see people working themselves up on Facebook, Twitter, on the news, and at coffee shops because they are SO frustrated with how this election is playing out. No matter which side we are on, we’re frustrated. We’re frustrated with the choice of candidates.
We’re frustrated with how the media is covering the election.
We’re frustrated with family, friends, and trolls making inflammatory statements. All of this frustration is compounding into levels of anger and rage that will not go away after this is all over.
On my social media timeline I have seen multiple people report that their anxiety levels are skyrocketing due to the uncertainty of the outcome of the election and also fears about what will happen after this toxic campaign. I don’t believe their posts are an anomaly. I think more Americans will experience anxiety as we get closer and even after when we’re not sure what will happen.
I’ve heard multiple political pundits describe this election as: depressing. I would agree and the sad part is things aren’t as bad as they were during the Depression and world War 2 but we don’t have the Franklin Delano Roosevelt candidate reassuring the nation that “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”. We don’t even have Ronald Reagan’s optimistic observation of “The Shining city on hill” (Non Partisan Article for the win)
We know that stress is a Health Killer and chronic stress can lead to long term health problems. When you’re stressed your body releases a hormone called cortisol.
Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, increases sugars (glucose) in the bloodstream, enhances your brain’s use of glucose and increases the availability of substances that repair tissues. Cortisol also curbs functions that would be nonessential or detrimental in a fight-or-flight situation. It alters immune system responses and suppresses the digestive system, the reproductive system and growth processes. This complex natural alarm system also communicates with regions of your brain that control mood, motivation and fear.
What happens when these stress hormones are released long term? (such as over the course of the election season)
Also from the Mayo Clinic
The long-term activation of the stress-response system — and the subsequent overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones — can disrupt almost all your body’s processes. This puts you at increased risk of numerous health problems, including:
Anxiety, Depression, Digestive problems, Headaches, Heart disease, Sleep problems, Weight gain, Memory and concentration impairment
We’ve established that Election 2016 is bad for your health. So what can you do about it?
- Limit Your Exposure to the Election: Limit your Cable News Viewing, Don’t read every single article that’s being posted online (many of them are not even from reputable sites), and don’t immerse yourself into every single social media war about the election.
- Save Yourself the Frustration and stop engaging in debates online or even in person thinking you’re going to change someone else’s mind. If someone gains a new perspective from a discussion, then wonderful! However most of the arguments/debates I’ve seen on Facebook are people writing long diatribes and then getting angry when their friends or followers still disagree with them. Here is a non scientific poll of what happens when you engage in political arguments on Facebook. If you can discuss without name calling, making inflammatory statements, and can let go of the expectation that you’re not changing anyone’s mind, then go right ahead and discuss and debate the issues! We aren’t all going to agree so go ahead and listen to another perspective and learn something.
3. Focus on making your own life and community better
Take the hour you would spend watching a news show, arguing on social media, or pondering our impending doom by making your own life and community better: Get out and take a walk, prepare a healthy meal using all fresh ingredients, read a book that’s not about politics, work on your goals, or some home improvement projects. Even better is to get involved in some community events. You will also need to vote on local issues as well. Learn about those so you can make informed decisions about issues that will have immediate impact on you and your family’s life.
4. Remind yourself what is true and what is not true: Right now we are all imagining the worst that can happen. Let’s step back a moment and not start reacting before anything truly terrible has happened. If and when it does, then we will need to think clearly and not just react off of our emotions. Right now everyone is in such a heightened state BEFORE anything has happened. I think right now would be a great time to remind ourselves of what is true and what are False Experiences Appearing Real even though it is getting harder and harder every day to accept that this election is actually happening.
This is still the United States of America and we are a constitutional Republic. This is all still true. We haven’t gone to the Hunger Games model just yet…
Good Health just isn’t about calories, fat grams, macros, exercise and the scale. Good Health encompasses the WHOLE life experience including mental health and managing stress levels.
Protect yourself against Election 2016! Your health depends on it!
May the Odds be ever in our favor.
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