We've got less than a month to go until the presidential election. Which doesn't seem that long until you consider the angry bile we've been marinating in for months. If you're angrier, more anxious, less optimistic or full-on freaked out about now, you're not alone.
Choosing our new president is taking a toll on pretty much every American's mental health.
A recent Politico article pointed out that over the summer, some 3,000 therapists signed a manifesto declaring that Donald Trump's overt sexism, intolerance, and scapegoating behavior posed an actual threat to the well-being of their patients. Months ago, these mental health professionals were already seeing an uptick in their clients' feeling of anxiety, fear, shame and helplessness.
And when a University of Minnesota psychologist polled 1,000 voting-age Americans, he found that 43 percent were feeling emotional distress because of Trump's campaign. (In turn, 28 percent said Hilary Clinton was stressing them out.)
Do we really need to unpack why this campaign is torturing us so? Is "Good vs. Evil"/"Love vs. Hate" not clear enough?
Okay then. Let's break it down.
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If you're pro-Hilary (also known as "voting with your conscience" or "doing the right thing"), you might have bitten your fingernails down to the nubs by this point.
"At a minimum, it's frustrating to watch [Trump's] childish attacks," notes Denise Shull, MA, a New York City therapist and founder of The ReThink Group. "It’s scary to see bullying tactics played out on the stage of a presidential election. It creates, as the perpetrator desires, an environment of fear."
And it ain't over yet. But as powerless or pissed off as you feel right now, there ARE things you can do to prevent yourself from cowering in a corner until Nov. 9.
1. Stop watching the news.
Seriously. "How many times do you need to hear the same sad story?" Hokemeyer asks. "Check the news at the start and end of the day."
2. Consider this an opportunity to take stock of your life.
"Not voting is a form of passive-aggressive behavior that is ultimately unhealthy," Hokemeyer says. "The political is personal. We need to reclaim our political system and change it to be responsive to human, family and social needs."
In other words, follow Michelle Obama's advice and take the high road.
Image via Chad Zuber/Shutterstock