Decision 2020

Post-Election Anxiety & How to Cope

NBCUniversal, Inc.

With constantly evolving election results and the race for the White House remaining uncertain, stress is building in an already anxious year for many.

North Texans are looking for ways to cope with nerves and post-election anxiety.

Americans found sun and a respite at Klyde Warren Park in downtown Dallas on Thursday, as a nation awaits election results.

“It’s a wonderful day,” said Charles Piano. “Nice weather.”

At a time when the nation’s political future is changing at a dizzying pace, martial artist Bobby Garcia said it’s important to remain calm and centered.

“We cannot control what’s happening in Washington, even in certain states, whether riots start again,” he said. “But you can control where you are. You can control that you’re connected to the ground.”

A survey on behalf of the American Psychological Association found 68% of U.S. adults showed this presidential election is a significant source of stress in their life, an increase from the 2016 election.

“Just more unease about what our country is going to go through,” said Allyese Perry who is visiting Dallas from Michigan. “Whether Trump stays in office or Biden takes it, it’s just uncertainty about what’s going to happen to us. And really it’s unease about there potentially being riots. I was really scared about that.”

Licensed professional counselor Leigh Richardson, founder of The Brain Performance Center in Dallas said post-election anxiety is real.

“I’ve seen four clients today and each one of them was suffering from it,” said Richardson. “I think it’s the uncertainty that we think we’re going to have the big Election Day and we’re all going to know who our president is going to be and that doesn’t happen. And I think that creates a whole other level of anxiety with people.”

The effects on the brain can manifest in different ways, she said.

“They feel their heart beating really fast. Some people feel nauseous. Some people may feel numb or tingling in your fingers,” said Richardson. “Are you numb? Are you fatigued? Because some people are. Some people are just so overwhelmed with it, it’s just like: I just need to be left alone… I’ve had someone say: I thought I was having a heart attack.”

Richardson said some clients are formulating plans in their heads if one candidate or the other wins.

“Turn that off,” she tells them. “Put some boundaries in place.”

She recommends redirecting that nervous energy into something positive.

“Reflecting on: What are my values? What am I grateful for,” she recommends asking oneself.

Perry said she tries to stay off social media and go outside.

The national survey also found that stress about the election is significantly higher among some groups.

‘The proportion of Black adults reporting the election as a source of stress jumped from 46% in 2016 to 71% this year,’ according to the American Psychological Association.

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