You cannot call it paranoia if the president really is out to get you.

Courtesy of NYT:

A once-in-a-century pandemic, the largest racial justice movement since the 1960s and a relentless social media firehose are making this year’s election one of the most stressful in the nation’s history, experts say.

About 68 percent of adults say that the presidential election is a significant source of stress in their lives, according to a recent survey by the American Psychological Association, up from 52 percent in 2016. The group didn’t track elections as a source of stress before that — but that’s in part because psychologists weren’t hearing all that much about it.

“I would rank 2020 very high in the list of stressful elections, certainly in the top five, if not the top three,” said Bruce J. Schulman, a professor of history at Boston University.

Of course, elections have always been somewhat stressful. The election of 1860 was a catalyst for Civil War. The election of 1932 took place in the midst of the Great Depression, when many Americans were hungry and homeless.

But only the most recent elections have come in the digital age. And now, during an especially bitter campaign, Mr. Trump is routinely making news on Twitter and people are getting updates pushed to their smartphones day and night. (In 2012, about 4 in 10 American adults reported owning a smartphone, half the rate of today.)

And no other election has taken place during a widespread, modern-era pandemic.

“The pandemic has disrupted so much of daily life, even more than a war or depression would,” Dr. Schulman said.

More people are calling therapists like Steven Stosny, a relationship expert in Maryland who used to get one to two emergency calls a week and now is getting as many as five a day.

Dr. Stosny, who coined the term “election stress disorder” four years ago, said that the background anxiety from the pandemic and the election has translated to far more stress in the daily lives of his clients, who are cooped up at home and already on edge.

It really is kind of a perfect storm of stress that we are all going through right now. 

And it is almost impossible to tell people to relax when there are so many reasons not to.

However, there really is no good reason to sit around and perseverate about the situation. 

All any of us can really do at this point is to make sure and vote. 

I am not an expert on stress but what has always worked for me is to make sure to get out of the house several times a week, for me that usually includes walks around my neighborhood or hikes in the nearby mountains. 

I also make sure to work out at least four or five days a week.

And the last thing I do is to find good movies or TV shows that provide some distraction from my everyday worries or concerns. 

Oh, and make sure to find something at least once a day that makes you laugh. 

Laughter is a great stress reliever. 

But the most important thing to keep in mind is that we will all get through this. 

At some point, it will be just a memory that will seem less and less real as the days, months, and years pass.