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5 things you can do to deal with election stress

Many people have reported a heightened level of anxiety as the numbers continue to come in for the election.

ATLANTA — A quick scroll on social media will reveal the anxiety that people are feeling. 

For the first time, Leah D. Mills-Chapman, a licensed master social worker with Ntervene, LLC, said she has had to counsel people because of the stress this election cycle has caused. 

Mills-Chapman told 11Alive she is seeing a level of fear on all sides - that patients feel like their voices may not be heard or their beliefs respected.

"This entire election cycle is not so much about casting a ballot," she explained.

The anticipation, she said, is really a mask, and right underneath all of that is just fear.

Mills-Chapman said those who were up all night watching the election results come in, or fighting on Facebook or just pacing back and forth at home - it's normal. 

"People are functioning from an emotional part of their brain instead of looking at it from their thinking brain or cognitive brain, and their trauma brain is activated, which means their fight or fight responses are kicking in," she explained.

She added that experiencing some physical pain is normal, too.

"Many may have somatic symptoms - that’s within the body," Mills-Chapman said. "They may find that they are having headaches. They may actually have physical aches within their body."

But the good news is, there are things people can do right now to start moving forward. Here are five things to help feel better:

1) Limit media engagement. Watch and read things at specific times, not for hours a time. 

2) Do something today that you enjoy. Even if you don't think it will be fun, just do it.

3) Give yourself grace for how you feel. It's probably normal.

4) Get out of the house. Even if it's for a short time. Sunlight and fresh air can have a positive effect on your physical well being.

5) Enjoy the people you have in your life. Allow them to have a greater impact over you than strangers,

And remember, feelings - and this election cycle - don’t last forever. 

 

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