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Health & Fitness How to stop politics from sabotaging your mental health

13:56  14 december  2019
13:56  14 december  2019 Source:   harpersbazaar.co.uk

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a woman standing in front of a mountain: Expert advice on what to do if politics is negatively impacting your mental health. © Richard Phibbs Expert advice on what to do if politics is negatively impacting your mental health.

If you’re worried about politics and the impending election is making you feel powerless and anxious, help is at hand.

We speak to Psychotherapist and International Speaker Noel McDermott about how to minimise anxious thoughts and keep your cool during the election.

Is politics making you stressed?

Can’t sleep, can’t eat and can’t escape the urge to troll complete strangers on the internet? Yes, you are stressed. But while it’s positive to get fired up and passionate about your country and the people who live in it, stress and anxiety can turn inwards and negatively impact your health.

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McDermott outlines the following common anxiety warning signs to look out for:

  • Changes in eating habits
  • Disturbances in sleep patterns
  • Finding yourself snappy or more easily angered
  • Regular thoughts of bad things happening
  • Not being able to sit still
  • A lack of concentration
  • Avoidance of tasks or people
  • Big and sudden changes in personality and habit

Is election stress sabotaging your mental health?

While we’re all understandably concerned about the environment, the economy and rising child poverty in this country (not to mention Brexit) stress can have major consequences for both your mental and physical health.

"Worrying is a symptom of and a trigger for anxiety; it can also trigger depression," explains McDermott. "As well as negatively effecting your mood it will also affect your relationships to others. For example, you may become less tolerant of others. When we are anxious or feeling fearful we have a tendency to blow things out of proportion."

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Election stress: techniques to stop politics from sabotaging your mental health . While we’re all understandably concerned about the environment, the economy and rising child poverty in this country (not to mention Brexit) stress can have major consequences for both your mental and physical health .

How to minimise election anxiety

If your worries about the election result and the state of the country are spiralling out of control, this indicates that you are a good person! But if these stressed-out feelings are starting to monopolise your thoughts and have an adverse effect on your mental and physical health, take some time out and put your health first before you make yourself unwell.

"A good way is to learn some simple relaxation techniques, perhaps use an app to help you relax," suggests McDermott. "Anxiety can be minimised through mindful breathing which is a technique that can be learned."

"Also learn to challenge negative thoughts by really testing them, talk out your fears with loved ones and help them ground you," he adds.

How to overcome election stress and anxiety

To combat feelings of stress and anxiety during this tumultuous period, try channelling your energy into good deeds such as canvassing or helping out your neighbours.

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McDermott also recommends the following stress busting tips:

1 - Learn relaxation techniques

If anxious thoughts are starting to get you down, try these stress management techniques.

2 - Learn mindful breathing

For advice on mindful breathing and overcoming anxiety, read our tips on anxiety coping skills.

3 - Exercise to burn off the stress

Can't stop worrying about the election results? Go for a walk round the park! Research shows that exercise is an excellent tool for managing anxiety.

4 - Stop the drinking, as it makes it worse

In the short term it takes the pressure off, but drinking to excess can make things worse, so sidestep that second drink and opt for an early night.

Last updated: 10-12-19

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