The Worst Thing You're Doing for Your Election Anxiety, Experts Say

A new poll says the election is causing the majority of Americans significant stress.

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Regardless of your political views or who you voted for, we can all agree that this presidential election has a particularly heightened level of tension compared to ones prior. It's certainly causing a greater number of Americans to experience election anxiety. According to a new Harris Poll conducted on behalf of the American Psychological Association (APA), 68 percent of adults in the United States say that the 2020 election is a significant source of stress in their lives, a substantial jump from the 52 percent who said the same thing about the 2016 race.

With the stress of the election and the coronavirus continuing to spread around the country at alarming rates, serious strain is being put on the mental health of Americans from coast to coast. And while the outcome of the election is out of our hands at this point, there is one thing we can do to avoid adding additional stress to our lives right now: take a break from social media. Read on to discover why experts say spending too much time scrolling through social media is the absolute worst thing you can do for your election anxiety. And for more ways to find a sense of calm right now, check out 18 Comfort Shows to Watch Instead of Election Coverage.

Read the original article on Best Life.

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Social media has a negative impact on your mental health.

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While it can be a positive tool for connecting with people, too much time spent engaging with negative posts, or even just reading them, can lead to stress, depression, and low self-esteem, Erin Vogel, PhD, social psychologist and postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University, told Healthline.

"Taking a break from social media during election week could be helpful for many people," Vogel said. "Social media can be very polarized, and there is an abundance of misinformation about all sorts of topics." And for more on why you don't know the winner yet, check out These 4 States Are Most Likely to Delay Election Results.

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You're almost guaranteed to come across a post that makes you angry.

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When you open any of your social media apps, the chances are extremely high that you will see something that causes you to have a negative reaction. A 2018 Pew Research Center study found that 71 percent of social media users report encountering content that makes them angry—and a quarter of those people reported seeing that type of content regularly.

Not only that, a separate 2018 study found that the most common reaction to posts from politicians was the angry emoticon. And for some famous faces who just exercised their constitutional right for the first time, check out 14 Celebrities Who Just Voted for the First Time Ever.

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Even just limiting your daily use can have a positive impact.

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If you really can't give up social media entirely for a day or two, at least try cutting back on how much time you spend with it. According to a 2018 study published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, undergraduate students who limited their daily use of Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat to 10 minutes per platform were significantly less lonely and depressed over a period of three weeks compared to students who set no time restrictions. And for more helpful information delivered to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

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Deleting the apps from your phone will make it easier to take a break.

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One way to ensure you spend less time on social media is to make it less accessible. "Delete the apps on your phone so you have to be intentional about logging in," Laurie Santos, PhD, psychology professor at Yale University, told Healthline. "Or, find a few friends who'll commit to a social media sabbath for a few days with you." And for more stars you'd be joining if you follow suit, here are 18 Celebrities Who Are Not on Social Media.

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