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Stressed by the Election? In Maine, There's a Cat for That

The election is "sort of an undeniable stressor," said one psychotherapist who suggests "radical acceptance"



    In Portland, Maine, some kittens are on stand-by to help people cope. (Published Friday, Oct. 14, 2016)

    Americans are seriously stressed about the upcoming election, according to the American Psychological Association. According to a recent APA survey, more than half of adults in the U.S. are stressed about politics.

    In Portland, Maine, some kittens are on stand-by to help people cope.

    A presidential debate watch party next week on Congress Street in downtown Portland will feature nine therapy kittens from the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland.

    “We’ll have cats in a separate room and we’ll rotate people out in groups,” said ARLGP spokesperson Jeana Roth. “We’ll give people a few minutes to play and snuggle.”

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    It’s one way to cope with a stressful election cycle.

    The APA recommends anyone experiencing anxiety from the election try limiting media consumption, volunteering, and avoiding political conversations that could result in conflict.

    “This is sort of an undeniable stressor,” said Robert Meyes, a psychotherapist in Portland. “I would suggest radical acceptance: things are the way they are.”

    Meyes believes this election season has been particularly stressful because it has highlighted hot-button issues, such as race and the treatment of women.

    Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

    He said limiting social media use can be a useful coping mechanism.

    A Westbrook, Maine resident said it’s been helping him.

    “During debates, just flat out no social media until the next morning,” Joshua Denk said. “I was just kind of taking in this fire hose of information and political back and forth, and I said, this is enough.”

    Denk said it’s improved his mood and helped him focus on everyday tasks, and feels like he can spend more quality time with his family.

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    Tourists from Colorado visiting Maine Friday said their trip has helped them unplug, and forget about politics for a while.

    “We went on vacation, turned off the TV, and kept our cocktails coming,” laughed Nancy Pokorny.