When you switch on a news channel, you will probably see politicians speaking about local or world problems. If you are feeling anxious, sick or losing sleep over the things you watch or read about, you are not alone.
A study published earlier this week in the journal Plos One, which looked at the physical and emotional toll of paying attention to and participating in political discourse, claimed that people are suffering from insomnia and anxiety over politics.
Kevin Smith, a political scientist at the University of Nebraska in the U.S., who is also the author of the study, focused on American society during the presidential elections in 2016. He interviewed 800 people over the course of a year and discovered that 40% of the participants were stressed over politics.
The study revealed 20% have damaged friendships because of political disagreements. One in five participants claim that they are feeling fatigued. Some 4% of people said they've had suicidal thoughts because of politics. Also, 11.5% reported politics had adversely affected their physical health; 31.8% said exposure to media outlets promoting views contrary to personal beliefs had driven them crazy; 29.3% said they've lost their temper as a result of politics and 22.1% admit they care too much about who wins and who loses.
"Politics is really negatively affecting a lot of people's lives, or at least, they perceive that politics is really negatively affecting their lives in deep and meaningful ways," Smith said. "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."