Reducing your stress from America's most contentious campaign

CENTER CITY (WPVI) -- It's been 600 days since Texas Senator Ted Cruz became the first candidate into the 2016 presidential race.

The charges and counter-charges that have flown since have left many voters stressed, anxious for an end.

Election day is here, but you're still anxious.

And you're not certain how you'll be able to talk later to friends, and even family, with political views you just can't fathom.

You're not alone, and the experts want to help.

"It has been the most stressful, aggravating, ugly election I can remember," noted Michael Rudy at a polling place in Center City.

Psychotherapist Dr. Steven Rosenberg says election stress is real.

The accusations back and forth from both parties breed negativity and then there's the fear of the unknown.

"That's what the public is grasping now. They don't know what's going to happen. People fear the unknown and it's stressful when you do," he adds.

As for whether casting a vote alleviates tension...

"I wouldn't feel good if I didn't vote but I don't feel any relief at all," Rudy remarked.

Dr. Rosenberg says it will likely take a while.

If your candidate loses, expect to feel a real sense of loss.

Terri Erbacher, Ph.D., a psychologist and professor with Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, says it can feel a lot like losing a loved one.

"We see the President a representative of who we are, we often vote for a candidate based upon how we liken them to ourselves," says Dr. Erbacher.

"Similarly, we cannot imagine electing a President whose morals, values and goals directly oppose our own," she adds.

And in some cases, it can be hard to recover from post-election grief;

Dr. Erbacher says after a death, we normally can heal with time.

But after an election, there is constant analysis of what went wrong.

"It keeps bringing up bad feelings, so you don't have the benefit of time to recover," she says.

Not to mention, if the opponent wins, you're stuck with them for the next four years.

And because we identify so closely with a president, the loss if very personal.

"It's not that Trump or Clinton lost, it's that I lost," she notes.

Dr. Erbacher notes that there can be simmering resentment between you and that neighbor with the winning candidate's sign in their yard.

"Normally, it can be good to talk about your feelings after a loss, but in this case, it could stir up even more anger," she notes.

So, best to stick with like-minded individuals to vent if need be.

She says sexual assault victims may not be able to dismiss the election results.

Dr. Erbacher says regardless of Trump's actual views or decision-making if he is elected, those people feel traumatized again, and may never get over it.

As for today, Dr. Rosenberg say try to clear your mind, meditate, exercise and get back to nature

"It's going to be a beautiful night, go out and enjoy the nature, the stars, the moonlight!" he recommends.

And finally, remember that no matter what the outcome, try to be a good sport and remember we are all in this together.
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