Nervous? Panicky? You just may have a case of election angst
November 5, 2012By Maiken Scott
Are you anxious and worried about the election, and what it will mean for the future?
Are you constantly checking for new polls, any sign that your candidate will win?
Some psychologists have dubbed this "pre-election stress disorder" and they were only half joking.
Mention the elections, and the angst is obvious.
Some typical responses:
"We're very concerned."
"Oh yeah, definitely."
"The wrong choice can lead the country into the wrong direction, at least what I think is the wrong direction, that's concerning."
"It's getting a little weird and personal, even at the office."
Many voters walking around Philadelphia have a deeply personal stake in the outcome.
"We're not gonna put Romney in the White House, my son is in the military, I don't want him in there, because if we put him in there, we're going to war," said one woman.
A voter attending Sunday's Romney rally in Yardley, Bucks County, also has strong feelings.
"We have a small business that's going to close its door if we don't get rid of Obama," she said.
Appealing to emotions
It's tough not to get emotional about the elections when we have been bombarded with ads appealing to our emotions, says psychologist New York Lisa Cohen.
"Campaigns can get very vicious, and part of it is the way people make up their mind when they vote," Cohen said. "We would like to think these are reasoned, rational discourses. But the truth is, and everybody in advertising knows this, people's decisions are in large part emotional."
If you're feeling anxious about the elections, Colorado psychologist Stephanie Smith offers some advice.
"Turn it off, turn off coverage, if it's getting to be too much," she says.
Being glued to the television or arguing on social media won't change things, Smith says. She encourages people to think about what they can do to make a difference -- voting, donating time or money to campaigns, and possibly running for office themselves.