It’s Real and Affecting Many…Election Stress Disorder

Adultery, sexual assault, walls to keep out Mexicans…the 2016 Presidential Campaign between Donald J. Trump, the Republican Party nominee, and Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party nominee, has gotten downright dirty.

Just when it doesn’t seem it can get any worse, it does. A recently released “Access Hollywood” clip featured  Trump bragging in vulgar terms about kissing, groping, and trying to have sex with women.

These two candidates are the most unpopular in modern U.S. history. Some 57.5 percent of Americans have an unfavorable view of Trump, and nearly 54 percent have an unfavorable view of Clinton, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll.  The nasty tone of the election is challenging to the emotional well-being of many Americans.

The American Psychological Association says that 52 percent of American adults are coping with high levels of stress brought on by the election, according to national Harris Poll survey data released last week.

Therapists report patients who are having trouble sleeping, irritability and heart rate palpitations. Many therapists are telling their clients to limit the amount of news they are exposed to and take up meditation and yoga.  One of the only organizations enjoying the campaign is “Saturday Night Live” as these two candidates have given the comedians an endless well of material.

One of the debates between the two took place two days after the release of the “Access Hollywood” video where Trump boasts about groping and assaulting women. In the audience, guests of the Trump campaign, were Juanita Broaddrick, Paula Jones, and Kathleen Willey, the women who have levelled sexual assault charges against President Bill Clinton.

CNN’s Anderson Cooper, one of the two moderators, asked, “Mr. Trump, about the tape that was released on Friday . . . you called what you said locker-room banter. You described kissing women without consent, grabbing their genitals. That is sexual assault. You bragged that you have sexually assaulted women. Do you understand that?” Trump retorted by saying this was locker-room talk.

Throughout the country, some spouses, siblings and friends feel so strongly about the campaign that they’ve stopped talking about it with each other to avoid heated verbal arguments.

A Monmouth University poll released in late September says 70 percent of voters believe the election is bringing out the worst in people – inspiring fear, among other emotions.

There are exercises that can help anxious Americans remain emotionally centered.

  • Limit election talk.
  • Sit or lie comfortably. Close your eyes and breathe naturally. Focus your attention on your breath. If your mind wanders, return your focus back to your breath. Maintain this meditation for two to three minutes to start.
  • Practice yoga. Asanas, which are body postures, combined with pranayams, breathing techniques, and meditation help instill calmness and relaxation.
  • Keep positive. When you spend time with positive-minded people it breeds a sense of peace and relaxation.