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Angry and Stressed Over the Elections? Here's How to Deal With It

Rise above the feeling.
by Arianne Merez
Apr 25, 2022
Photo/s: Shutterstock

Even for a politician's son like Job Berroya, one the Philippines' most divisive election campaigns has become so stressful, he blocks off time in his schedule for quiet coffee break with phones off. He can't stay this angry until May 9.

Berroya's triggers are election fake news and bardagulan on Facebook, which can only get worse as Bongbong Marcos defends his lead and Leni Robredo builds more momentum.

"There are particularly two things that anger and stress me the most from the past few days: disinformation and closed-minded people," Berroya told reportr.


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"If disinformation continues, then we may be choosing the wrong leader, and if we are closed-minded, and we do not consider any other candidate, then aren't we voting based on their personality, not on the platforms, projects, and programs of each candidate?" he added.

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For many, the upcoming elections trigger a wave of different emotions. There's the hope of a better future, and joy when we find people who share our beliefs. But then there's also anger at fake news, frustration at seeing a friend support corrupt politicians, and stress and anxiety over whether one's pick would win.

When politics becomes too much to bear, how does one deal with the anger and stress of it all?

First things first, it's normal to feel all sorts of emotions about politics, especially with the May 9 elections just a few days away, life coaches Pat Mallari and Shaun de Joya said.

"Politics is a connector among many Filipinos now. It represents our values, our principles, and who we are as Filipinos. It is not something we can just easily disregard," Mallari told reportr.

"We are angry and stressed because something important is triggered within us. That is an important aspect to dig deep within ourselves," she said.

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Understanding anger and stress over politics

Anger as an emotion is neither good nor bad according to De Joya. What becomes a problem is when people act negatively on their emotions.

"People would say that anger is a bad emotion but the reality is emotions are neither good or bad. The bad thing or good thing about it is how you respond," De Joya told reportr.

"'Pag nagagalit ka, indicator 'yan na may mali, may hindi tama o may hindi ka maintindihan o hindi ma-verbalize," he added.

What is it about politics that trigger anger among many people? It's frustration and the feeling of disrespect according to De Joya.

Frustration happens when people cannot see eye to eye over their political beliefs especially after a certain amount of effort has been exerted to communicate one's point. The feeling of disrespect is triggered when a person develops the idea that his or her political views and beliefs do not matter to other people.

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"As a result, na-iistress ka na at na-trigger ka na...It's a pattern. People feel that their certain needs and wants are not met and then they feel angry and stressed," De Joya said.

What can you do?

When dealing with anger, De Joya said people are left with three options: be passive, aggressive, or defensive.

"You cannot control how other people think, respond or act but you can control yourself," he said.

Here are tips on how you can deal better with anger and stress due to politics:

1. Ask yourself: "Is this anger worth it?"

Politics is personal and important, especially with the upcoming elections. When acting on anger due to politics or elections, ask yourself first if it's worth it, mindful that you would still be interacting with people whose beliefs differ from yours even after the elections.

"Your health, your relationships with people will still continue after elections. Try to see the bigger picture beyond politics," life coach Mallari said.

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2. Take a wider perspective

Election hype is temporary. Once the dust settles and the country elects its new set of leaders, life will still go on regardless of who wins.

"Life will still move on after candidates have been elected. Therefore, think about what matters in life - like your health, family, work, relationships," Mallari said.

3. Take responsibility

While it may be easy to pin all the blame on politicians for the country's situation, take responsibility for your actions too. This means voting with power on May 9.

"Be responsible in electing the person who represents your values and also make choices that support your values, too. Be the light and model the life that you wish to have," Mallari said.

4. Focus on what you can control

Don't let your anger just be lip service, rather see what you can actually do. As Mallari puts it: "take personal responsibility in living the values you believe in."

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Want your voice to be heard? Vote on May 9. You are angry at the barrage of fake news online? Report disinformation, don't share fake news, and verify your sources of information.

And remember, whether it's anger, stress, or anxiety, emotions first affect the person feeling it.

"The only thing we can control is ourselves. The more you fight that control, you want to control other people, the more you'll feel frustrated," De Joya said.


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