election-stress-apaThe American Psychological Association, which conducts the annual Stress in America survey, has found rising levels of stress during #Election2016. 1 in 2 U.S. adults says the U.S. presidential election is a source of stress, with Democrats and Republicans equally likely to feel this way.

So the APA is offering tips on how we can deal with the health impacts of election season stress. These include:

  • Take a digital break and limiting your media consumption, reading or listening to “just enough to stay informed.” Instead, go for a walk and do things you enjoy.
  • Avoid getting into and limit discussions about the election to avoid conflict.
  • Channel concerns about “what if?” to make positive differences in your community: work with a food bank, volunteer at your local hospital, read at your kids’ library.
  • Life goes on after November 8; APA recommends avoiding “catastrophizing” and staying balanced.
  • VOTE. Wear your sticker with pride.

As APA concluded, “election stress crosses the aisle. 59% of Republicans and 55% of Democrats feel stressed about the election. That stress is more likely felt among adults who use social media — 54% of whom feel stressed because of the election — versus 45% of adults who do not use social media.

Across the generations, election stress is occurring more likely among matures (71 and over, 59%) and Millennials (age 19-37, 56%). 50% of Boomers and 45% of Gen Xers (38-51 years of age) feel election stress. Americans with disabilities are also more likely to report election year stress — 6 in 10 people with disabilities report feeling this way, versus 48% of people without a disability. Election stress is also blurred across racial and ethnic lines.

excedrin-ad-for-2016-election-headachesCapitalizing on this phenomenon, on 19th October 2016 during the third U.S. Presidential debate of 2016, Excedrin’s brand team posted on Twitter that “The possibility of a #DebateHeadache is high. Be prepared with Excedrin.”

Within minutes, the tweet scored over 2,100 “likes” and 900 retweets. The hashtag #DebateHeadache then began to trend on Twitter, according to MarketingDaily Around the Net. Adweek covered the story, too, noting a 3,100% rise in social media chatter.

Health Populi’s Hot Points:  One of the best tactics we can take to manage stress at this moment is to laugh. There is plenty of comedy fodder on late-night shows (which can be DVR’d or watched via YouTube and social channels so you preserve your sleep – a key determinant of health and stress-reducer).

legal-sea-foods-campaign-adsFYI, my favorite non-political ad during #Election2016 comes from outside healthcare, from restaurant company Legal Sea Foods, whose name is a natural tie-in with the season. The campaign features Roger Berkowitz, CEO of the company, ostensibly running for President and stating his policies on a red, white and blue horizontal background: two of the pronouncements are that, “My first act in office will be to legalize sea weed,” and, “I support the gay community – this is why we serve rainbow trout.” Like all social campaigns, there’s a Twitter hashtag: #FeelTheBerk.

If you have a favorite consumer product ad this #Election2016 season, please let me know. I’m 1 of the 2 managing my campaign year stress, too.