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Mental Health Monday: Expert offers tips on how to deal with post-election stress and anxiety

Studies show important political events can have significant impacts on your mental health and could even impact your sleep and emotional well-being.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Mental health experts say, for many people, election cycles can add stress and anxiety. That could be especially true in cases like the 2022 midterms, where people had to wait days to learn the outcome in some key races.

Craig Smith, an associate professor of psychology at Vanderbilt University, said that shows interest in politics has been high in 2022. In Knox County, for example, 8,000 more people voted in the midterms than in the 2020 presidential election.

However, Smith said worrying too much about the outcome of an election can be "threatening" to your mental health.

So, what can you do to deal with post-election stress and anxiety? 

Smith spoke with 10News and shared some easy tips you can start implementing in your life.

1. Accept the reality that life after an election cycle may be uncertain for a while. Smith said you should remember that if life was okay before an election, it will most likely be okay after it too.

2. Talk to your like-minded friends and loved ones about it. They can provide you with the necessary comfort and support.

3. Practice informational control, in other words, learn as much as possible from trusted sources.

4. If you do not like the outcome of the midterms, start volunteering or organizing people to be more involved in a political cause you care about. Focusing on the future can help relieve the anxiety regarding the election.

5. Keep things in their proper perspective.

"There are probably much more pressing things, possibly anxiety-provoking things happening in each of our personal lives that, at this point, maybe deserve a little bit more attention," Smith added. "And focusing on that can help the anxiety about the election subside as well."

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