How politics affects us psychologically: positive and negative effects.
These are the different ways in which politics has an impact on our minds.
It is clear that politics is a fundamental part of our society and therefore of the lives of all individuals.
Therefore, It is not surprising, therefore, that phenomena linked to politics have important psychological implications for individuals, some of which are some of them of a positive nature but others quite negative. Through the following paragraphs we will know better some of the most important ones.
- Related article, "What is Political Psychology?"
How politics affects us psychologically: its main repercussions.
Aristotle said that the human being was a "zoon politikón", which in Greek means political animal (which comes from polis, city) or civic animal. What he means by this expression is that man is a social being, an animal that evolutionarily is accustomed to live in society. Therefore, it is inevitable that politics arises, which literally means of the citizens, or also of the State, and is therefore the art of relating among all the members of a society.
The anthropologist Elman R. Service proposed the classification of all human societies in four levelsaccording to their complexity and structure. According to this criterion, we could speak of bands, tribes, chiefdoms and states. Politics appears, to a greater or lesser extent, in all of them, but as we advance in these stages, consequently they become more intricate, until we reach the political organization of modern states, where politics itself is more than an art, it is a science, in which all variables are controlled.
Although not all people are politicians, in the sense of making a living from this profession, they are all affected by politics itself and by the decisions of the politicians of the different administrations. are affected by politics itself and by the decisions of politicians in the different administrations in which they live or work. in which they live or work. Therefore, it is to be expected that this will have repercussions at a psychological level, which will be more or less pronounced depending on a series of characteristics, both of the person him/herself and of the conditions of the environment and of the politicians themselves.
The first factor that will determine how politics affects us psychologically will be the degree of involvement of the individual with respect to politics.. It is obvious that some people are much more interested in the political scene than others, and therefore, for the former the effects will be much more pronounced, since for these people politics occupies a central place in their lives and therefore they live every event that has to do with this subject with great intensity.
Also The degree of impact that the political decision in question has on that particular individual will also be decisive. individual. In this sense, if it is a measure that directly affects their way of life in any of its facets, it is more likely that there will be a psychological reaction to it, either for or against. On the contrary, if the person believes that this legislative change is irrelevant to his or her day-to-day life, it is possible that it will not generate any kind of emotion, either positive or negative.
In order to delve more deeply into the concrete consequences of how politics affects us psychologically, let's take a look at the positive and then the negative effects.
The first option is that political activity is a positive factor. This can occur, as we have seen, because it generates a positive change for your day-to-day life. In this sense, the simple perception that those in power take care of their problems brings satisfaction and a positive state of mind that, psychologically, is pleasant and beneficial for the individual. If, in addition, this political decision is taken by a party in line with its ideology, the effect will be even more enhanced.
In addition, those who live politics with a certain intensity will attend the electoral will attend the electoral process as if it were a sporting event.They will experience the victories of their political party as a Real Madrid or Barcelona fan experiences the conquest of a Champions League, as if Rafa Nadal lifted another Roland Garros or Fernando Alonso won a Formula 1 Grand Prix. There are many parallels between following sports and politics, and what is experienced with victories in both areas.
When our favorite political party wins, we secrete a series of neurotransmitters that make us experience a feeling of happiness that floods us and keeps us in a state of euphoria. But this mechanism works exactly the same in the opposite direction. Logically, where some people celebrate a victory, others inexorably suffer defeat. But that question belongs to the next point, that of how politics affects us psychologically, this time on a negative level.
But just as politics can generate positive aspects in people's lives, it is also true that it can have much more unpleasant consequences at all levels. can have much more unpleasant consequences at all levels, including the psychological.including the psychological. To begin with, people who are very involved in the political life of their country run the risk of plunging into a spiral of following the activity and even activism in favor of one party or another that can become really wearing.
An inordinate involvement in political affairs can provoke the increase of anxious and/or depressive symptomatology.With the added problem that politics usually occupies the bulk of the thoughts of the person in question during the day to day, causing the subject to be constantly on his mind, to resort to conversations on this subject frequently and that this also involves the initiation of heated debates that soon turn into arguments.
In fact, one of the biggest problems we find in the question of how politics affects us psychologically is the feeling of rivalry that is generated between the different factions of thought, and which are constantly sprinkled with gasoline by the leaders of the different parties, knowing that these premeditated fires are convenient for them to keep their followers focused on the ideological struggle and ready to silence the opposing positions with their arguments.
This state of constant activation is emotionally exhausting and generates, as we have already mentioned, symptoms compatible with anxiety and depression, and irritability that can trigger mood swings and frequent arguments, sometimes even with loved ones.sometimes even with loved ones, over issues that are actually alien to them, at least to a large extent. It would be a very similar situation to what happens with big sports fans, as we have already seen, and this extends to the rivalry between fans.
- You may be interested in, "What is Social Psychology?"
Continuing in the line of negative effects, we cannot fail to point out the important factor that the media and especially social networks represent in the generation and maintenance of this state of hyperactivation and that explains how politics affects us psychologically, to a large extent. Nowadays, we are subjected to a constant bombardment of information, much of it politicized in one direction or another, and it is almost impossible to ignore it all and not suffer any of its effects.
Social networks such as Facebook, Twitter or even WhatsApp, have a lot to do with how politics affects us psychologically.Sometimes entering any of these applications means exposing ourselves to a whole string of comments, opinions, appeals or diatribes, sometimes from strangers, but many other times from people we know and even very close to us, who have become true cyber-activists and who spend much of their time trying to spread their political thinking.
When the reader is the same and is also a follower of the same or similar tendencies, there is usually no problem, because he will simply reaffirm his positions, but if he is equally aggressive in his approaches, but with different political thoughts, the discussion is served, and with it the different negative psychological effects on both parties, which more than likely will not give their arm to twist and will engage in an eternal discussion that will lead nowhere.
The third option is that the reader is alien to politics, and the river of political comments appearing on the wall of your favorite social network is nothing more than a nuisance when scrolling for other content. when scrolling for other content, as they will repeatedly ignore these types of messages, even if they come from people close to them and even family members. In fact, many times one chooses to mute such individuals, as removing them from the friends list would, once again, be a cause for conflict.
- Alvarado, S.V., Ospina-Alvarado, M.C., García, C.M. (2012). Political subjectivity and political socialization, from the margins of political psychology. Latin American Journal of Social Sciences, Childhood and Youth.
- Lira, E. (2016). Readings in psychology and politics: Political crisis and psychological damage. Chilean collective of psychosocial work. Ediciones Universidad Alberto Hurtado.
- Urbina, R., Sulay, A. (2020). Documentary review: effects of political violence on psychological well-being. Institutional Repository. Pilot University of Colombia.