How social media, articles heighten election stress in more than 52 percent of population

By Dr. Nancy Gahles, DC, CCH, RSHom(NA), OIM

american flagFifty two percent of Americans aged 18 or older said the election is a somewhat or very significant source of stress, according to a survey conducted by the American Psychological Association (APA). (1)

In a recent news release, Lynn Bufka, APA’s Associate Executive Director for practice research and policy said, “Election stress becomes exacerbated by arguments, stories, images and video on social media that can heighten concern and frustration, particularly with thousands of comments that can range from factual to hostile or even inflammatory.”

Ruminating about stressful events has been demonstrated to produce higher levels of C-reactive protein, the immune system’s preliminary inflammatory response and a reliable marker of inflammation that has been linked to the risk of developing heart disease. According to one study from Ohio University, Athens, USA,” more and more, chronic inflammation is being associated with various disorders and conditions. The immune system plays an important role in various cardiovascular disorders such as heart disease, as well as cancer, dementia and autoimmune diseases.” (2)

Not all people who witness the verbal tirades, bullying and exchange of insults and lies are susceptible. A thorough case history will suss out the person who has a past history of abuse be it physical, emotional or verbal. Any words that threaten, hurt or cause pain are abusive. When one who is susceptible sees or hears this type of behavior, they are likely to experience it as though it were happening to them. The amygdala, like an elephant, never forgets. The stress response will be the same for the person even though the experience is vicarious. The reaction is one as to a clear and present danger.

Those who are resilient adapt to the stressor. Through the process of self-organization complex systems regulate the flow of information, energy or matter. (Bak,1996;Kaufman,1995).

The stress response is complex, involving whole systems. It is a non-linear response. People who are not as resilient tend to become stuck and unable to adapt and transform to self-regulation in the face of danger, actual or perceived.

Dr. Iris Bell and Mary Koitan explain a novel model for stimulating the organism to an adaptive response and onto self-regulation. Her research indicates that homeopathic remedies contain nanoparticles that stimulate hormesis, a beneficial low-dose adaptive response. These homeopathic remedies prescribed in low doses spaced intermittently over time act as biological signals that stimulate the organism’s allostatic stress response network evoking non-linear modulatory, self-organizing change. “It’s that the nanoparticles may capture the signal qualities of the original source material. The remedy serves as a signal to the individual body as an interconnected network or system to reverse the direction in the maladaptive changes it made originally to higher intensity stressors that led to developing the disease,” said Dr. Bell. (3)

The Adaptive Network Nanomedicine Model for Homeopathic Medicines research concludes that nanostructures are salient cell danger signals for adaptation and are “ biologically trigger health-promoting beneficial changes in the organism as a complex adaptive system.” (4)

According to Dana Ullman, MPH, CCH, in his book Evidence Based Homeopathic Family Medicine, “some basic science research has also found that one homeopathic medicine, Gelsemium Sempervirens, had a significant effect on reducing anxiety in mice.” ( Magnani et al, 2009.) There are other studies to this point listed in the Reference section of this book. (5)

Certainly the first step is to introduce self-regulation to regain equilibrium. The second step is to induce positive emotions in order to maintain homeostasis, harmony within. One study demonstrated that negative emotions are reliably associated with poorer health”. It was found that discrete positive emotions predict lower levels of inflammatory cytokines. (6)

“Positive emotions are not just the absence of negative emotions”, said Dr. Lorraine Gahles-Kildow, Ph.D, licensed psychologist and expert in the field of Positive Psychology and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. (7)

Dr. Lorraine and myself have developed a program called POP! Pockets of Positivity to learn skillful strategies to induce and maintain peace and harmony in ourselves and translate those into action. Research shows that positive emotions have an influence on social interactions and relationship; work productivity and absenteeism as well as health outcomes such as immune function, vitality, longevity, and pain.

“Attitude changes everything” she said in a recent co-presentation we gave to the NJ Montessori Assoc. Conference. Positive emotions decrease the stress response, increase creativity and energy and produce measurable effects of resilience, self-confidence and self-regulation.

Integrative health care involves collaboration with experts in disciplines that can lend their wisdom practices in concert with the unique needs of the person on their return to wholeness. In this election season, you may find it an interesting endeavor to query your patients about their level of stress and its antecedents. According to the survey, 1 out of 2 people are stressed about this election. Connect the dots with their reason for being in your office and voila! A new path emerges!


  1. American Psychological Association, press release, HealthDay News, Oct.13, 2016
  2. Medical News Today, Ruminating about Stressful Events May Cause Inflammation in the Body, Christian Nordqvist, March 17 2013
  3. A model for homeopathic remedy effects:low dose nanoparticles, allostatic cross-adaptation, and time dependent sensitization in a complex adaptive system, Bell IR, Koithan, M. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2012 Oct. 22;12:191. doi:10.1186/1472-6882-12-1191.
  4. Extending the Adaptive Network Nanomedicine Model for Homeopathic medicines: Nanostructures as Salient Cell Danger Signals for Adaptation. Iris R. Bell, Gary E. Schwartz, Joyce Frye, Barbara Sarter, Leanna Standish. Nanosci Technol 2(1): 1-22.
  5. Positive affect and markers of inflammation: discrete positive emotions predict lower levels of inflammatory cytokines.
  6. Evidence Based Homeopathic Family Medicine, Ullman, Dana; Homeopathic Educational Services
  7. POP! Pockets of Positivity, Gahles-Kildow, Lorraine; Gahles, Nancy. Presentation, New Jersey Montessori Association Conference, One World Many Voices.