Election Day is around the corner making it a great opportunity to exercise your right to be mentally and physical well. Granted, casting your vote is not going to immediately lower your cholesterol or your blood pressure, however, voting connects you to your community, creates mental well-being and improves health outcomes. Here’s how:
Strengthen Social Ties
Our social environment has a big impact on our overall health status. Voting connects you to your community, strengthens social ties and creates a feeling of being part of society. Social connectedness and how you interact with the world are part of your total wellness.
In referring to voters in this article by the University of Wisconsin, professor of population health sciences from the UW School of Medicine and Public Health had this to say:
“Social connectedness is really important for physical health, because they are active when they’re getting out and doing things, and also mental health, because social capital relates to an underlying ideal that can determine health status.”
Linked to Improved Health Outcomes
According to this study, people who volunteered and voted were more likely to be in better health. These people were more likely to eat healthier and have fewer symptoms of depression than those who did not.
Expressing your right to vote may improve your mental health. This article, from WebMd discusses the positive psychological effects of voting that come doing something empowering and provide a feeling of being able to control something in your life.
As an extension of this, voting may lessen the psychological stress that can come from being disadvantaged economically, politically or socially.
Boosts Life Satisfaction
Being politically active is also linked with greater well-being and life satisfaction according to this study. It associated political activism and feelings of freedom, positive emotions and well-being.
A vote can feel like you are making a difference. It becomes an act of protest. You are putting your opinion out there and that can be very empowering.
Don’t forget there is another way to vote: with your dollars. It’s not the same as casting a vote in an election but it is also effective and can create feelings of control.
Against single use plastic? Stop buying disposable water bottles. Is the environment important to you? Do your research and buy from companies with green business policies at their core. Hate megabanks? Put your money in a local savings and loan.
How you vote is less important than the act of voting. Take time on Election Day to connect with your community, make your voice heard and empower yourself to make a difference in your part of the world!