More than half of Americans say the election is a significant source of stress in their lives, according to a survey by the American Psychological Association. One surefire way to spike your anxiety? Constantly refreshing poll results. Stephen Holland, a psychologist who specializes in anxiety disorders, told STAT he jokingly calls it “Obsessive-Compulsive Poll-Checking Disorder.” The name might be funny, but the issue is very real.
If you look at a poll and see your favorite candidate winning, you'll probably feel a sweet sense of relief. But that only lasts a few minutes until you feel the need to check again. Then, if your candidate is down a few points, you'll likely feel tense. Holland says election-related worrying comes with similar side effects to anxiety and OCD: increased heart rate, trouble sleeping, irritability, overeating, drinking problems, and depression.
The takeaway? If you’re feeling anxious (and really, how could you not be?), take a step away from all the election coverage. That means don't look at the polls and consider steering clear of Facebook and Twitter—the APA found nearly 40 percent of Americans say social media is a major source of election-related stress. Then check back in on Tuesday night when the real results are finally rolling in.