“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
-Matthew 5:43-48

Election Stress: The Real Thing

The American Psychological Association did a poll on “election stress.” The results came in—52% of Americans suffer from this disorder. The drama has played out more heavily this year on every social media outlet available, providing virtually every person on the planet a place to express their opinions about the USA Election 2016. The vitriolic, malicious, slanderous comments on all sides has generated serious health concerns and has destroyed many relationships and families, proving once again that the pen (words) can be mightier than the sword. Personally, I’ve noted some social media connections whom I will never respect again. Sad, but true.

The Symptoms of the Disease

It appears that this disease is probably the only thing that unifies us all regardless of race, religion, gender, age, and political affiliation!

“Election stress disorder may not be well known, but it’s definitely real, and its impact should not be dismissed, said Dr. Asim Shah, vice chair for community psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. Symptoms of this once-every-four-years disorder include heart palpitations, shortness of breath, sweaty palms, loss of appetite, trouble sleeping and a sinking or doomed feeling….” (Feeling anxious about the election? Here’s how to cope with election stress disorder.)

Tips to Beat the Stress

  • Treat your symptoms like you’d treat any addiction—addiction to the elections this year is strong.
  • Turn off all your electronics for a few hours. Go do something fun.
  • Take a walk, a swim, or ride your bike. Exercise increases endorphins (endorphins make you happy!), improves your mood, and improves your health.
  • Find a positive friend to while away a few hours.
  • Vote. APA officials think this will help you as it makes you feel like you’re “taking a pro-active step.”

The Permanent Cure: Christian Love

“Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…”

Do something positive to replace any hatred and negativity in your heart and mind.

Dr. John Snyder in his article “Make Love Your Aim” writes:

If resentment, anger, or hatred has replaced love and joy in your life, do a heart-check and see if you can determine the root cause of your problem. If someone hurt you, keep a heart of love ready to forgive them the minute they ask for your forgiveness. If you’ve hurt someone, reach out to them and ask them to forgive you—not in some fake, “doing the Christian thing” way, but in total, genuine humility, setting aside your pride and rancor. As Christians, we are called to a higher path. Make love your aim—today, tomorrow, and always.

Photo via Flickr