Post-Election Anxiety Is Still Getting To Us

by Mia Mercado

If the current news cycle has you feeling more anxious than usual, you are far from alone. While the election itself has been over for months, many are still feeling residual effects of the election cycle. (You know, in addition to the obvious one sitting in the White House.) According to a new survey, a majority of Americans are still suffering from post-election anxiety. Yep: Trump anxiety is real.

To put it gently, the 2016 election cycle was particularly stressful. To put it scientifically, a majority of Americans reported significant stress during the time of the election. In a report from the American Psychological Association last fall, 52 percent of people said the election “is a very or somewhat significant” source of stress in their lives. When you combine that with the fact that the news can heighten anxiety and stress, the results from this new survey are likely less surprising and more reassuring.

This new survey conducted by CareDash, an online healthcare portal, in partnership with Radius Global Market Research is titled, “Nervous Nation: An Inside Look at America’s Anxiety in the Age of Trump”. It polled over 2,000 adults ages 18 and older in late March about their feelings of anxiety in relation to the current administration.

As we close in on Trump’s 100th day in office, 59 percent of Americans currently report being at least “somewhat anxious” specifically because of the election results.

Who’s Anxious?

Pretty much everyone is feeling some level of anxiety due to Trump being in office. Men surveyed were slightly more affected than women, with 54 percent saying they are more anxious specifically because of the January inauguration. 48 percent of women said the same. Of the men who experienced a heightened level of anxiety symptoms, 51 percent said they have seen or have considered seeing a doctor about it. The same is true of 28 percent of women.

While all adults are experiencing more anxiety, adults with kids at home report being significantly more anxious since the January inauguration. Almost three quarters of adults (72 percent) with children at home surveyed said they have been at least somewhat anxious. That’s markedly higher than the 51 percent of adults with no children who live at home.

The younger demographic is more anxious than the overall population with 71 percent of 18- to 44-year-old saying they feel anxious because of Trump being elected. 68 percent of the same demographic believe “Donald Trump as President is causing more people to have anxiety.”

Even those who voted for Trump are experiencing anxiety due to the election results. 43 percent of Trump voters said they feel “at least somewhat anxious” with Trump in office. An almost equal number of people who elected Trump (42 percent) believe Trump is causing people to have more anxiety.

How Is It Affecting Us?

As the survey states, a significant amount of people are dealing with some of the more common symptoms of anxiety because Trump is in office. These include “depression, weight gain, suicidal thoughts, trouble sleeping, relationship distress, resentment, anger and feelings of nervousness.”

People also report they are coping by engaging in more unhealthy behavior, like drinking, smoking, or arguing with loved ones. This is especially true for younger parents of kids at home. 41 percent of Americans aged 18 to 44 and 44 percent of adults with children in the household report engaging in more unhealthy behaviors like the ones listed above.

What Do We Do About It?

With half of Americans “looking for ways to cope with the negative political environment,” the need for resources to combat news cycle stress is high. Thankfully, there are many different ways to cope with news cycle stress and anxiety.

First, make sure you recognize the signs that the news cycles is stressing you out. Things like your sleep cycle being particularly off or experiencing more headaches can be cues that you need a news break. If you’re mentally checking “yes” to some of those symptoms, find a coping method that works best for you.

You can join the 39 percent of people who are helping to reduce their anxiety by avoiding social media. Simply surrounding yourself with the ones you care about most can also be an effective way to cope with post-election stress. Try breathing techniques meant to soothe anxiety. Don’t hesitate to see a doctor if your symptoms are severe.

While this heightened level of anxiety among everyone is concerning from a mental health perspective, it will hopefully help you feel less alone if you’re particularly overwhelmed by the current news cycle. Because if nothing else, our anxiety about the current administration is something we all have in common.