Students face election anxiety over presidential race

Isabella Parish

Due to trends from the 2016 election, hospitals said they prepared to have upwards of 25 extra emergency patients a day due to physical reactions caused by election stress disorder. 
Photo: Getty Images 

The nation is at a pivotal point right now. Every American is experiencing political history each day. 

With the state of the world at stake between COVID-19, racial injustice and the Presidential Election there is a lot on the line for Americans. 

On the individual level, it is almost impossible to not feel election anxiety. The proper term to use is election stress which is scientifically a real disorder (SCL Health). 

When I asked a few IWU students whether they feel election anxiety the answer was overwhelmingly yes. The more common cause was not the actual results but the build-up to the results which is causing stress in the students’ lives. 

With mail-in ballots being widely used due to the current pandemic, the anticipation is a major stressor. I am among the students who feel the election stress as well. 

I am not a licensed therapist, but I believe that there are a few helpful methods I have used over the course of the election to help try to ease the level of stress.

One of the most helpful coping mechanisms would be to journal. Writing down all the thoughts and worries you may have about the election gives you the opportunity to not have a constant weight of thoughts in your head. 

“Writing down all the thoughts and worries you may have about the election gives you the opportunity to not have a constant weight of thoughts in your head.” 

Another method I have also used would be to talk to people who also are experiencing election stress. Knowing you are not alone in this life-changing time can be very helpful. Just after asking fellow students I felt much better that I was not the only one who was feeling this way. 

A final piece of advice I offer to those undergoing election stress would be to use the voice that you have. Voting in this election would be a pivotal example of using your voice. 

Standing up for what you believe in and using your voice to be an ally of your beliefs is pivotal even after the election. 

Illinois Wesleyan encouraged their students to vote and use their platform in many ways. Many public figures, like Ariana Grande, encouraged people as well. 

While refreshing the polls every minute of the day may seem like it is helping, it is probably not, even though I am also guilty of this. 

Whatever your coping mechanism is, use it. 

With everything going on, it is best to destress and lean on our fellow students and faculty. 

Something I have noted when thinking and talking about election stress, is that everyone handles and responds to it differently. 

The most important thing is that you know that you are not alone in your feelings of anxiety.