Politics is ugly. This has always been true, but if you ask anyone who has lived in the United States for the past five years, they will tell you that it has become a major source of stress for the American population. At least, this is what a new study from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, indicates. The study, discussed in a New York Times article, shows that around 40% of Americans consistently feel that politics is a major source of stress for them. The study even suggests that 5% considered suicide due to political stressors. Although this statistic is dubious, so far it has remained consistent across three surveys. In a 2017 survey, 20-25% percent reported loss of sleep, depression, and self-destructive or compulsive behaviors. Surveys conducted in 2020 found similar results.
So should politics be blamed for the nation’s stress? Chronic stress is unhealthy, and at this rate, politics is literally killing us. This isn’t a question of partisanship; everybody is feeling the burden of constant political stress. Mental health is an issue that spans humanity. It is a biological aspect of a person, and yet it is also intrinsically, irrevocably, and inextricably tied to our society and institutions. Political orientation has nothing to do with a person’s right to be happy and mentally healthy, and although the inferno of politics will continue existing, we should at least agree on keeping this country as close to the definition of sane as possible. Towards this end, if you are feeling stressed, you should try meditation: https://www.mindful.org/how-to-meditate/. It really helps!