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Election stress is real. Here's what a psychologist says you should do to help

Psychologist Dr. David Chesire says even he is feeling the stress from the election and campaign ads that bombard us everywhere.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — It’s everywhere and we can’t seem to get away from it: Political campaigning. 

“Spending this year is more than it was in 2016," said UNF associate professor of political science Dr. Mike Binder. "I suspect by the time it’s all said and done including digital, radio, tv, we’ll be up over $300 million spent in the state of Florida.”

As campaigns ramp up in the final days before Election Day, stress and anxiety are also ramping up.

Politically induced stress and anxiety is a real term and has been a topic for years, but for many this election cycle has been intense. COVID-19, racial tensions, and division in America is enough to stress out even a psychologist.

“I’m having stress and anxiety with the election, too," Dr. David Chesire admitted. "So I practice what I preach here is that we really need to step back, unwind, disconnect and focus on the things that bring us pleasure.”

Chesire says we view politics like sports. Everyone wants their team to win. We get hyped up about the race and then angry if we lose. He says we need to stop thinking that way.

Do what you can – in this case vote or volunteer – and then take a break from politics if it is causing you stress. Spend time with friends and family and do something you love.

“Cut each other some slack and maybe not do a victory dance and rub other people’s faces in the fact that their side wasn’t the winner," Chesire said. "If your side doesn’t come in on top, basically sit back. Be good to yourself. Do the things you enjoy and put it into perspective. This is an election."

"We all win some. We all lose some," Chesire said. 

He says we have so much information at our fingertips that sometimes people feel they need to constantly be connected, but actually he says we need to step back. If you have trouble restricting yourself, you can set up timers for each app.

On iPhones go to setting, screen time, and set a limit. When you've spent the set amount of time on the app, a timer notification will pop up letting you know.