2016 election causing serious stress for Americans

Posted: 5:37 PM, Oct 18, 2016
Updated: 2016-10-18 18:11:35-04

Cheryl Malhado lives in a quiet neighborhood in Holt, but she's still seen her election signs stolen and vandalized multiple times.

"For me, personally, it's saddening."

Being concerned about her signs in her front yard has been just one more thing to worry about for Malhado.

"I didn't sleep well last night," she says. "It's on my mind all the time."

She isn't alone. The 2016 presidential election has been a source of significant stress for more than half of Americans, according to the American Psychological Association.

"52% of Americans surveyed have been stressed out by this election," explains Dr. Valerie Shebroe, a psychologist in East Lansing.

Shebroe says a monumental part of that stress comes from social media:

"Social media has been overtaken by political polarization, so one of the things that I'm suggesting, and I think the American Psychological Association is suggesting too, is to limit your exposure to social media."

People can also help with that stress by focusing on more offline as well.

"One of the most important things to do is to vote," says Shebroe. "That's what you have the most hope of control over is yourself. Another thing that you can do is volunteer. So for example, you can volunteer to register people to vote!"

The APA says channeling that stress to focus on the issues you care about, and work to achieve those in your community can be extremely helpful.

"I think a lot of us have a sense of a lack of control over what's going on both locally, nationally, in the world, and so what we have the best hope of doing is controlling ourselves," explains Shebroe.

That control should help lower the stress.