Pulse 121: Don’t Make Yourself Sick Over Politics

30 September 2019
Giulio Prisco

Angry at Computer

University of Nebraska researchers suggest that we, and in particular people in the US, are making ourselves sick over politics.

"Politics is really negatively affecting a lot of people's lives, or at least, they're perceiving that politics is really negatively affecting their lives in deep and meaningful ways," says research leader Kevin Smith. "Stress is a real phenomenon that can have disastrous health effects. If politics is a significant contributor to the levels of stress that American adults are experiencing, then yeah, it makes sense that there's a real add-on health effect from that."

We see this in social media every day. My own reaction, which I like to see as a small contribution to our collective well-being, is to stay entirely out of the political debate. I do have political opinions like everyone, but I keep them to myself and the voting booth.

My health advice today is, don’t ruin your health arguing over politics with strangers on Facebook.

"Twenty percent have damaged friendships because of political disagreements,” continues Smith. “One in five report fatigue. And it's a small (proportion), but 4% of the people in our sample said they've had suicidal thoughts because of politics. That translates into 10 million adults."

I guess we should make politics boring again.

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