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Political Stress - How To Relieve It

More Ways to Relieve Political Stress


Updated July 01, 2012

Avoid Conflict

This election seems especially divisive, and many people find themselves on different sides of the fence than some of their co-workers, friends and family. (The squabbles on The View are often making headlines, I believe, because they echo what many of us are experiencing or are afraid we will experience in our own lives if we’re not diplomatic enough.) For many people, the stress of political conflict with other people we know is a top concern; nobody wants to hear their candidate insulted, and many people don’t understand the careful rules of polite political discourse among those with differing opinions -- often a political minefield. My advice? It depends on the situation. If you are blessed with friends and acquaintances who can truly hear your opinion and express theirs in a way that doesn’t attack yours (and you’re able to do this, too), political discussions can be a way to better understand your friends and the other candidate as well. Especially if you seek common ground, you will likely find it, and feel better afterward, or at least be able to agree to disagree.

More commonly, though, you’ll encounter people who absolutely cannot have a political discussion without trying to prove that they are right and the other side is wrong (even with the best of intentions), and these situations can easily unravel into animosity and hurt feelings, grudges, and even open hostility that’s difficult to repair. In these more common situations, it’s best to avoid discussing politics altogether, and stick with topics where you all agree. (Seriously, what’s the point in trying to change one or two people’s mind, when it might mean risking their friendship? It’s not worth it/) Change the subject or leave the room if you have to, and console yourself with the fact that the election will soon have come and gone. (You may also want to read up on these conflict resolution tips.)

Regular Stress Management

Stress is stress. Whether your stress comes from election fears or something else, it’s important to have some standard stress relievers you have up your sleeve to keep your current stress from morphing into chronic stress, where your stress response gets triggered and never quite gets turned off. Some of my favorites are breathing exercises, regular exercise, meditation, social support and journaling. But you can get regular stress management tips and information from me for free by subscribing to my Stress Management Newsletter, and seeing this page of ongoing stress reduction resources offered on this site.

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New York Times / CBS Poll, October 25-29, 2008.

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