We all know the old adage: “Don’t discuss politics, sex or religion and everyone will get along just fine.” That may work for sex and religion, but with political stakes — and antics — consuming the news cycle and our psyches like never before, it seems that election anxiety might have gone from an unpleasant dinner topic to a legitimate psychological disorder.
Steven Stosny, Ph.D, author of “Soar Above: How to Use the Most Profound Part of Your Brain Under Any Kind of Stress,“ recently identified a phenomenon he dubbed “Election Stress Disorder” in Psychology Today. As Stosny told Salon: “This election appeals more to the toddler brain — emotional, all-or-nothing thinking — with more of the toddler coping mechanisms: blame, denial, and avoidance. The body can’t distinguish kinds of stress very well, especially when blame, denial, and avoidance are used as coping mechanisms. If you get peeved at something a candidate says, you’ll tend to look for oversimplified solutions at work, drink more, drive more aggressively, and suffer the physiological and mental effects of general stress.”