HOUSTON - If you are feeling stressed or anxious about the election, you are not alone.
"The stress we are feeling right now related to the election just feels like the next event in the stress Olympics 2020," said Dr. Jon Stevens, Chief of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Outpatient Services with the Menninger Clinic in Houston.
Last month, the American Psychological Association found seven out of 10 Americans believe this lowest point in our nation's history they can remember.
"I had a patient who came in recently and said, 'Doc, I have political anxiety disorder,'" he recalled.
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He described people feeling short-tempered, losing sleep, and experiencing physical symptoms such as headaches and muscle tension.
Stevens says there are concrete things you can do to help you cope. First, limit the time you spend scrolling or watching election updates to only 15 to 20 minutes at a time.
He also suggests taking a step back and pinpointing what worries you most. He says, recently, his patients worry a lot about losing their healthcare.
"Tell me four or five things that you can do concretely to improve your healthcare situation?" Dr. Stevens said he asks patients.
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He says then picking one or two things and acting on them.
"I find that by breaking these large worries, these kind of catastrophic worries down, people can feel better about action that they can take today to decrease their own stress," Dr. Stevens concluded.
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He also recommends the mnemonic SEEDS -- focusing on social connectivity, education (learning something new), exercise, diet (eating healthy), and sleep.
"For those that are feeling extreme stress, they can't go on. They should reach out. There's the National Suicide Hotline, you can call the Menninger Clinic," Dr. Stevens noted.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255.