How Election Night Really Affected Stress Levels

If there’s was anything to be learned during this past election, it's that the whole electoral process really took its toll this year. Even leading up to Election Day, there were reports of just how stressful the 2016 elections were on most Americans — and this was before it was clear that the next president of the United States would be President-elect Donald Trump. And at that point, then stress levels really went through the roof for many of us.

Spire, the mindfulness and activity wearable, tracked the tension levels of 3,000 users on election night. “Spire continuously measures your breathing patterns, and from that data we can infer your state of mind,” Spire CEO, Jonathan Palley, tells Bustle. So, if you want to know exactly what’s going on with your stress levels, then you might want to consider Spire. At least then, you can be pro-active in keeping your stress to a minimum and living a healthier (and happier!) life because of it.

When Trump took Ohio and Florida, about 7:53 p.m. PST, tension jumped. Then, around 8 p.m. PST, it declined. When Trump took Pennsylvania around 10: 35 p.m. PST, again, tension scores jumped, but fell a bit afterward. When Donald Trump was named president, at 11:30 p.m. PST, the tension score skyrocketed to almost 200 on the Trump Tension scale, roughly a 50 percent increase in stress levels. Then, for some of us, came the tears and the “OMG, THIS IS NOT REAL LIFE.”

Here's what Palley had to say about how stress is more detrimental than we tend to think, physically, emotionally, and mentally:

How Our Bodies Are Affected By Stress

Stress isn’t just something we experience in our brain, but it affects the whole body. In the short term, we feel more tired and struggle to make decisions, explains Palley. As for the long-term, we’re looking at higher cortisol levels, as well as a lowered immune system.

The Elections Caused A Definite Increase In Stress

In comparison to other events that Spire has monitored, as well just your average day, the election really was a doozy on people’s nerves. “These events were much higher than the average day,” says Palley. “The spikes you see [on the Trump Tension scale] are those above the average daily base line.” These stats didn’t surprise Palley, who noted that even before the actual Election Day, people were talking about the stress they were feeling over the past several months.

You Can Get This Post-Election Stress Under Control

Although there are many ways to manage stress, Palley says, “Remember to take a deep breath. Be mindful of yourself,” adding that Spire can help keep you on track when it comes to stress and tension levels. Which, let's be honest, is something a lot of us could use right now.

Know That You’re Not Alone

“What you’re feeling is REAL physical effects from your stress,” Palley says. So, basically, don't be so hard on yourself for having these feelings and emotions. You are, honestly and truly, far from alone on this one.

Takeaway? It’s important to take time for self-care. Realizing that our stress is higher than usual is that first step in the process, then taking steps to get it under control is next.

Images: Hannah Burton/Bustle; Spire; Giphy (5)