Dr. Ernest Levister
The results of the 2018 midterm elections will be enormously important — not just in shaping the future of Donald Trump’s presidency, but in shaping the American political landscape for many years to come. A sprawling series of contests for Congress and in states across the country will be on the ballot in November. There’s the whole House of Representatives, a third of the Senate, 36 governorships, and many state legislature seats.
Although you might not think of exercising your right to vote is as good for your body as exercising on a treadmill, research has shown that fulfilling your civic duty can benefit your health.
Voting can be an empowering activity, allowing us to enact our civil responsibilities so our voices may be heard. Because voting is a right denied to many around the word, it is only natural to have a sense of pride when you can cast your ballot. Here’s how voting can improve your (and your family’s) well-being:
Voting can make you happy: Being active politically has been linked with higher levels of happiness, likely because it makes you feel like you’re a part of a larger group of people who share similar views.
Voting ties you to your community: Voting brings everyone in your neighborhood together for a greater cause. This can strengthen your respect and tolerance for political differences. (It goes both ways: Those who feel close to their community are also likelier to vote.) Those feelings of inclusion can lead to a higher quality of life and reduce feelings of loneliness.
Voting generates inner peace: The act of voting has been shown to help reduce stress levels and the risk of developing common mental health conditions such as depression. That’s because when you cast your ballot, you often believe you are doing something that can make a real difference to your daily life.
Voting empowers you: When you vote, you feel more in control over part of your life. This can actually translate into feeling more control over other areas that may need improvement, such as eating better or exercising more.
Voting helps your kids, too: They may not be old enough to vote, but the majority of kids and teens are aware of elections and believe their lives will be impacted by the results. Talking to your children about the issues and telling them that you voted can calm their fears and reassure them that you’re acting in their best interest. Plus you’re setting a good example so that when they get older, they vote as well!