Politicophobia, also known as the fear of politics, is an umbrella term that encompasses several individual worries.
While there is presently minimal study on politicophobia, it is a genuine fear, and also experienced by many people. Some people have a deep fear of the political process, and some others are afraid of politicians.
Some people fear going anywhere near a polling location or even casting a vote, while many others are afraid of the responsibility of selecting an elected official. Because there are a wide variety of fears under politicophobia, the fear is greatly individualized.
What may cause one person to be afraid might seem entirely harmless to another person. Below is a good look at some possible examples of politicophobia.
Fear of the Political Process
Whenever it’s election season, people generally assume that there would be a lot of pointed advertisements, mudslinging, and tough debates.
If you’re one of those who are not comfortable with conflict, this is a time where you might be tempted to stay away from public places and even turn off your television until the election period has passed.
This fear of political process falls under politicophobia.
Fear of Politicians
There is almost nowhere in the world where politicians are trusted. Almost each and everyone who has held a political office in one way or another has a reputation for being untrustworthy and avoid giving direct answers to questions.
While a lot of people generally dislike politicians, having an actual fear for this group of people can be unusual. However, what is more common is the fear of a particular politician.
Whenever it is election season, automatically, the whole country has to take sides. From individuals to major corporations, and even religious leaders, everyone takes sides with candidates who are actively seeking endorsements.
These candidates also seek out every possible means to speak against the opposing party. It is possible for people to become concerned about a specific politician who is running ahead of the elections, mostly if you notice them directing negative messages towards individuals or other things that are important to you.
Fear of Casting a Vote
When it comes to polling locations, we all agree it can be really intimidating. The people who may suffer from this the most are those with claustrophobia, social phobias, or agoraphobia.
Although several districts now have laws that prevent campaigning within the polling area, it is not uncommon for supporters of both opposing parties to line The Sidewalks at the last minute as they attempt to convince voters to support their preferred candidate.
This can be very stressful for people. When inside the polling location, voters have to go through several steps beginning from presenting a valid means of identification to casting their votes.
At this point, poll workers are ready to demonstrate a simple ballot so that voters can understand the process correctly. For people who are dealing with certain types of social phobia, this can be a very agonizing interaction.
Fear of Choosing Elected Officials
Even though each individual is only allowed a single vote, we all can agree that a single vote can make a lot of difference in the final outcome of an election.
If you are not sure where you stand on such matters, or if you are not familiar with some of the candidates, or even unsure of how to fill the ballot, it is not out of place to have a fear of making the wrong choice.
One of the most potent fears is the fear of responsibility, and a lot of people develop that when they think about negatively impacting the future with a single vote.
Fear of the Results
Some people are bold enough to cast a vote when the time comes. However, they have a deep fear of the direction in which their country is heading.
Most of the time, this becomes true when elections take place during an economic crisis, a period of War, or other challenges that affect the general citizenry.
Attack advertisement, campaign promises, and the occasional mudslinging will often heighten the effects as each side tries hard to convince people that the opposing party will cause more damage to the already damaged country.
During Presidential elections, it is quite common for the balance of power to be mentioned severally. Legislation has to pass through the house, as well as the Senate, before eventually getting the signature of the president.
Controlling two or all branches of government makes it much straight forward for a particular party to pass its agenda, whether good or bad, as all parties want to gain as much power as possible.
However, this intense battle for control makes it relatively easy for people who are on the side of the losing party to develop deep fears for the future.
Per data from the 2019 Stress in America survey carried out by the American Psychological Association prior to the year the citizenry return to the presidential polls, 56% of American Adults identify that the upcoming polls are a great source of stress.
Cure for politicophibia
There is no cure for this or any other politics or election-related fears. However, there are simple tips that could ease tension and anxiety.
Self-Help Strategies for politicophobia
It would not be possible so escape elections or the election season. The fact remains that major elections such as the Presidential elections are crucial.
For this reason, there may be election talks everywhere you turn, and of course, that will be the headlines for the entire period.
If you find out that politicophobia is starting to interfere with your everyday life, it may be the best time for you to visit a therapist who can help you manage your fear better. Some of the best therapies that may be adopted include exposure therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy.
Below are a few easy coping strategies that you can do on your own to reduce your anxiety about elections and political issues:
- Know when it is best to walk away from any political arguments or discussion
- During elections, be selective and reduce your media exposure to all political information
- Listen to some music or take a walk with a loved one
- Call a friend or relative who is not interested in politics and play some games or head out to dinner.
While it is good to stay up to speed with current happenings, make sure to put your mental health first.
- American Psychological Association (2019). Stress in America: Stress and Current Events. Stress in America Survey.