Election stress disorder is real, and here are some tips to manage it

Anxious about the election? A new study reveals Americans are stressed out over politics.

Fifthy-two percent of respondents polled by the American Psychological Association said the election is a very or somewhat significant source of stress in their lives.

An expert joined "Good Day Philadelphia" Tuesday morning with advice on how to stay calm. Dr. Valerie Braunstein, a licensed psychologist, had several tips to offer.

"We're seeing that people who spend more time on social media actually have more election stress," Braunstein said, citing the study. "So, if you're feeling increased stress, it's really important to limit your social media consumption. And so you do that by giving yourself some digital breaks."

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FOX 29's Alex Holley said that even if you take digital breaks, the first thing some people want to talk about is the election.

Braunstein suggested using "I statements," like "I prefer not to talk about that." If you feel the person might not respond well to that, you could politely change the subject.

"Or, you could just listen and do some belly breathing or some mindfulness exercises that can keep you grounded in the moment. Or, you can always walk away," the doctor said.

FOX 29's Thomas Drayton mentioned that stress can really lead to mental health issues and other physical health issues, as well.

"We've all been under such chronic stress, so it's really important to recognize that if you're feeling those symptoms of stress, it's really important for self care," Braunstein said. "That means eating healthy, drinking enough water, getting enough sleep."

If stress interferes with work concentration, it's a problem. You need to find those positive outlets.

And if it feels really uncomfortable, consider reaching out to a mental health professional to get some guidance.

"It really is a different kind of time that requires a different kind of help and solution," Braunstein said.

You don't want to trade one bad habit for another. Set boundaries and remove yourself from stressful situations. Adjust expectations, exercise and get quality sleep.

For more of Braunstein's tips, watch the video above, or click here for more from the website for Philly Psychology, where she is a licensed psychologist, owner and supervising psychologist.


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