Weathering one of the most acrimonious elections in U.S. history can be hard on health. Fortunately, functional medicine offers some strategies to help take the edge off.
Prolonged heightened stress fear, anger, and negativity have been shown to harmfully impact the body in the following ways:
Raises inflammation. Heightened stress and negativity can inflame joints, cause skin breakouts, disrupt brain function, upset the stomach, provoke respiratory problems, and trigger headaches.
Triggers anxiety, depression, and/or insomnia. People have lost sleep and become anxious and depressed this election year. Chronic stress keeps the central nervous system in a heightened state, chipping away at your health.
Causes stomach aches and abdominal symptoms. Chronic stress ravages the gut, predisposing one to pain, inflammation, and digestive upsets.
Tightens muscles. Chronic stress keeps the body in a fight-or-flight state, with the muscles constantly tense.
Imbalances hormones. Stress hormones can devastate the delicate balance of hormones in both women and men. This can impact menstrual cycles, libido, and the brain.
Causes brain fog and memory loss. Because chronic stress and negativity are so inflammatory, the brain may become inflamed as well. Common symptoms of brain inflammation are brain fog, depression, and memory loss.
Weakens or over stimulates immunity. Chronic stress weakens the immune system so that you’re more susceptible to illness. It can also over stimulate it so that autoimmune conditions flare up.
Promotes high blood pressure and respiratory stress. Chronic stress constricts the blood vessels, raises blood pressure, and inflames respiratory conditions.
Encourage addiction and bad habits. Chronic stress makes people more prone to addictive behaviors.
Healthy ways to buffer the effects of election stress
Stress is a normal function that serves a survival purpose. The trick is to rebound from it appropriately.
Although it’s tempting to mix a drink or pop a Xanax, aim for functional medicine tips that ease election anxiety and support your health:
Take an adrenal adaptogen supplement. These herbs help buffer the body and brain during stress. Examples include ginseng, ashwagandha, holy basil, rhodiola, eleuthero, and pantethine.
Connect with others. Seek out like-minded friends and do something fun. Positive socialization is a well-documented health booster.
Release feel-good hormones through exercise. Exercise can’t be beat in the face of chronic stress and negativity. It floods your body with feel-good hormones that improve health and brain function. Just be careful not to overdo it, over exercising stresses and inflames the body.
Find unidentified causes of stress. Much of our stress today comes from factors we’re not even aware of. Unstable blood sugar is the most common. Unidentified food sensitivities, such as to gluten or dairy, is also common. Chemical sensitivities, anemia, unmanaged autoimmunity, leaky gut, and infections are examples of health issues that keep one in a state of chronic stress.
Practice positivity. Although it’s important to allow and process any negative emotions, at some point it’s helpful to practice positivity, something science shows is vital to good health.
By taking better care of your health and managing how outside events affect you, you have a better chance of having a more positive impact on your own life and the people around you.