As Election Day Nears, A Houston Doctor Offers Ways To Manage Stress, Anxiety | KERA News

As Election Day Nears, A Houston Doctor Offers Ways To Manage Stress, Anxiety

Nov 7, 2016

Five stories that have North Texas talking: Almost 100,000 more voters turned out early in Dallas County this election than in 2012; local artists are helping asylum seekers tell their stories; the Dallas Zoo won a prestigious award for gorilla protection; and more.

Election Day is tomorrow. If you haven’t let the tumultuous last couple of weeks get to you, that’s great. But for many Americans, election stress disorder is peaking right about now. It’s a real, once-every-four-years bout of anxiety, Dr. Asim Shah, vice chair for community psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, tells the Los Angeles Times. He says symptoms include “heart palpitations, shortness of breath, sweaty palms, loss of appetite, trouble sleeping and a sinking or doomed feeling.”

 Here are a few ideas inspired by Shah’s advice to manage your stress Tuesday:

  • Avoid social media and TV news for a bit. Shah says reading the news takes less of an emotional toll on people. Mix in lighthearted TV programs or a good book or podcast with your news consumption during the day and night, or just stick to the headlines in the morning and evening. Results won't start coming in until later in the evening, anyway.
  • Get outside. Depending on the weather, you can catch a reading of The Gettysburg Address at the Dallas Arboretum in the morning or Pilates at Klyde Warren Park at 6 p.m. (right before voting wraps up). If you’re stuck at work, take a walk at least. And it's inside, but still a way to decompress — adult coloring at the Irving Public Library. It’s free at 5 p.m.
  • Hang out with your kids. Shah says that kids pick up on everything parents’ say, so doing something fun and relaxing with them would be a good way to escape election distraction and negativity. Check out Art&Seek for kids events in North Texas. Or you can talk with your kids about the election in a way they'll understand with these PBS resources.

Read more tips from Shah in the LA Times. [LA Times, PBS, Art&Seek]

  • More than 3.6 million Texas (in the state’s 10 counties with the largest voting age population) voted early this election. The Texas Tribune tracked turnout during all 12 days of early voting and compared it with the two previous election years. In all 10 counties, more voters turned out in 2016. In Dallas County, by the end of early voting, more than 512,000 people voted early — almost 100,000 more than four years ago. In Harris, the largest county in the state, more than 882,000 voted early, compared to around 700,000 in 2012 and 678,000 in 2008. [The Texas Tribune]
  • Asylum seekers in the U.S. often have difficult stories to tell, but a group of North Texans is making it possible through art. The Human Rights Initiative of North Texas enlisted artists to create work based on the personal stories of local asylum seekers — people who have left dangerous situations in other countries to live in America. Artwork inspired by these refugees was auctioned off this weekend at the Rock Your Heart Out event in Deep Ellum. Read the story behind the piece, “A Rose By Any Other Name.” [Art&Seek]

 

  • How do teenagers in North Texas feel about the election? Sure, they can’t vote, but they still have opinions on the issues. Through its Student Reporting Labs program, PBS Newshour has been engaging with teenagers across the country to help produce short videos called Letters to the Next President. In each video, a student talks about a relevant issue like gun violence, race and the environment. In the following two “letters,” two teens from Coppell weigh in on gun control and youth voice in politics. [PBS Newshour]

  • The Dallas Zoo was recently recognized for its efforts to protect gorillas in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The zoo received AZA’s 2016 International Conservation Award for its work with GRACE, the Gorilla Rehabilitation and Conservation Education Center, according to a press release. The organization was created in 2009 to save and rehabilitate highly endangered, orphaned Grauer’s gorillas. They're the largest primates in the world that only live in eastern DRC, where researchers believe only 5,000 remain. [Dallas Zoo]