It's customary to look at a president's "First 100 Days" in office as a marker of what will come during the presidency. As President Trump nears his 100-day mark on April 29, there's one major change in the American population that's becoming apparent since his election: Everyone is anxious.
Almost three-fourths (71 percent) of Americans age 18 to 44 years old report feeling anxious due to the election results, and nearly two-thirds of Americans agree that our current president is causing more people to have anxiety, according to a new study of 2,000 adults commissioned by the health care site CareDash.
ICYMI, anxiety isn't exactly uncommon; 28 percent of American adults have suffered from anxiety disorder at some point in their lives, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. It's important to note, however, that the people who report anxiety aren't necessarily suffering from anxiety disorder, but experiencing the feeling of anxiety, which is defined as, "an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts, and physical changes like increased blood pressure," according to the American Psychological Association (APA). (Here's what you need to know about the difference between the two.) In this particular survey, 45 percent of Americans reported experiencing some of the more common symptoms of anxiety, including depression, weight gain, trouble sleeping, relationship distress, resentment, anger, and feelings of nervousness—all specifically because of the election results.
Before you assume anything (because you know what they say about assuming), listen up: Even people who voted for Trump are experiencing anxious feelings. About 40 percent of Trump voters surveyed 1) report feeling anxious because of the election results, 2) agree that he's causing more people to have anxiety, and 3) are looking for ways to cope with the negative political environment. (Social media detox, anyone?) Another surprising stat: Despite all the scary women's health rights changes swirling under the new administration, men are even more likely than women to report feeling anxious. Fifty-four percent of men report feeling anxious in response to the inauguration versus 48 percent of women.
How do people usually cope with anxiety? Apparently, by ditching their healthy habits. Of the people who are experiencing common anxiety symptoms, nearly half report engaging in unhealthy behaviors such as drinking alcohol, smoking, eating unhealthy foods, or arguing because of the November election results. (Example A: the election almost led one woman to a divorce.) Nearly half of Americans ages 18 to 44 years old experiencing anxiety symptoms also report sleeping less or having less sex because of the election. Barbra Streisand even admitted that the Trump presidency is making her stress eat, and Lena Dunham says the stress is making her lose weight.
"The November election results created the 'perfect storm' of rising anxiety and it's affecting our national health," says CareDash Medical Advisor Steven Stosny, Ph.D., a therapist based in Washington, DC. "Anxiety and nervousness stem from the fear that something bad might happen. These feelings are intensified in times of uncertainty and are also contagious. What we see now is Americans trying to grapple with the uncertainty of a president known for bold and unexpected behavior, as well as a 24-hour news cycle driven in part by social media platforms that have amplified political worries."
If things continue in this direction over the next four years, you can take these steps to stay sane on social media, try these tips for dealing with everyday anxiety, and follow in the footsteps of these women who've found a healthy outlet for their election stress: yoga. (Here: some anti-anxiety poses to try ASAP.)