UACES Facebook Let’s keep it civil: Election cycle survival tips for families

Let’s keep it civil: Election cycle survival tips for families

By Mary Hightower
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Oct. 24, 2016 

Fast facts:

  • APA: this year’s election has been significant source of stress
  • Extension specialist offers coping tips at http://bit.ly/ELN-Survival   

(325 words)

LITTLE ROCK – There are ways to remain sane and civil during an election year, said Brittney Schrick, PhD, extension family life specialist for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. 

“I've seen and heard more and more of my friends, both in person and on social media, say how stressful this election has been and that they cannot wait until it is over,” she said. 

That prompted her to post “Let's Keep It Civil: Election Cycle Survival Tips for Families,” in her Family Life Fridays blog. (see: http://bit.ly/2b9g0LD) 

“Politics is always difficult to talk about, but this election seems to have brought out a level of divisiveness that is straining relationships to breaking,” she said. “Add to that the feeling that everyone is entitled to share their opinion regardless of consequences and the negativity is strong and toxic.” 

Schrick said “kids pick up on these reactions and the stress they induce, and they start talking to their friends about the candidates in negative ways. Being conscious of how and why we talk about such emotionally charged issues is a very important way to teach kids respectful discourse and civic engagement.” 

Even the American Psychological Association has weighed in, releasing statistics showing that people are reporting this year’s election to be a “significant source of stress. 

“People who use social media are more likely to report stress – 54 percent,” she said. “APA also found that higher numbers of voters older than 71 and younger than 37 report being ‘significantly’ stressed by the election.” 

Her blog post notes tips from “Psychology Today,” including:

  • Limit media exposure including social media.
  • Don’t discuss politics with those who will escalate the conversation to higher levels of conflict.
  • Channel election-related stress into local community and civic activities and volunteerism.
  • Remember that life goes on after the election process is finished.
  • Be sure to vote. 

To learn more about maintaining healthy social relations, visit http://www.uaex.edu/health-living/personal-family-well-being/, or contact your county extension office.

 

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.    

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Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Dir. of Communication Services
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
(501) 671-2126
mhightower@uaex.edu

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