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Vote. It’s good for you.

November 5, 2012

Sure, it’s been a stressful few weeks – months, even. Debates, political ads, campaigning, flyers, you name it, we’re all tired of it, right? It might even be taking a toll on our mental health. And according to one study by some Israeli researchers, there’s a bit more stress in store just before you cast your vote:

Our data demonstrate that elections are exciting, yet stressful events, and it is this stress, among other factors, that elevates the cortisol levels of voters. Since elevated cortisol has been found to affect memory consolidation, impair memory retrieval and lead to risk-seeking behavior…

But overall, voting might be good for your health. There are all kinds of studies and schools of thought about empowerment and engagement in the political process, and a cursory glance at a few tells me voting is good for you, especially if you feel like you can make a difference when you cast your ballot.

More importantly, the direction of health care in America is at stake in this election. Vote one way, and the Affordable Care Act is likely to continue; vote another, it could be repealed. In Rhode Island, we may move forward with some of its key features anyway because we have some leaders in state government who are trying to make some significant changes to the way we deliver health care here. But the extent to which the federal government will support or thwart those efforts won’t be clear until after the election dust settles.

Either way, it’s up to you. You get to cast your vote for the kind of health care system you want.

And you can find out what happens on Rhode Island Public Radio! I’ll be camped out at the Biltmore downtown Providence, FYI.  And we’ll have reporters all over as well as analysts in the studio with live election coverage starting at 8 pm.

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