The most divisive and unpredictable presidential race in modern memory reached its end. The harsh and bitter tones of anger and frustration overflowed like a lava-leak at Mount St. Helens. And now at college campuses across the nation – students are singing the election stress blues!
The negativity from Election Stress keeps rolling on – and research tells us it’s not going to get any better anytime soon. You see, emotions win elections. Though positive campaigning can heighten your feelings of enthusiasm and hope, it’s fear, anger and anxiety that got you in the voting booth. You’re more likely to make sure to get out and vote if you worry that you’ll lose things in election times – or at least that is the theory.
The reason the general public’s mental health is challenged is because negative campaigning heightens stress. And when your body is faced with stress, particularly fear-based stress, the adrenal glands secrete glucocorticoid hormones to help you cope. Specifically, your body launches cortisol to help you get away from danger, where your heart rate increases, and blood flow goes to everything you need to run away or fight. This fight-flight response is meant for short term stress – and becomes frustrating if it’s drawn-out.