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On Our Minds is the name of KERA's mental health news initiative. The station began focusing on the issue in 2013, after the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Coverage is led by reporter Syeda Hasan and is funded in part by the Donna Wilhelm Family Fund and Cigna.

When Talking To Loved Ones With Opposing Political Views, Experts Say Changing Minds Isn't Likely

A sign directs voters to a polling place.
Christopher Connelly
/
KERA News
A sign directs Tarrant County voters to a polling place.

After a tense presidential election, some Americans are facing uncomfortable conversations with loved ones about the current political climate.

This presidential election has been a source of stress for a majority of Americans, regardless of political party, according to a recent survey from the American Psychological Association.

When talking to loved ones with different political beliefs, it's important to set realistic expectations, said Vaile Wright, the American Psychological Association's senior director of health care innovation.

"It's really about approaching them with curiosity, non-judgment, not with the goal of trying to change another person's mind, because you're not going to be very effective," Wright said. "But if we're entering these conversations just trying to understand the other person's point of view, then I think we have a chance to be more effective and to bridge some of these divides that we're seeing right now in the country."

A graphic displays the findings of research from the American Psychological Association.
American Psychological Association
Stress about the presidential election is a bipartisan issue, according to research from the American Psychological Association.

Wright said children can pick up on the political tension, even if they don't fully grasp the issues. She said adults can use this as a teaching moment, listening to kids' concerns and using age-appropriate language to answer their questions about the political process.

"What's different about this election... is the level of emotional investment that people have had in it and its just sort of unparalleled nature," Wright said. "Really, it's about approaching these conversations with a goal in mind, and using all your effective communication skills."

Got a tip? Email Syeda Hasan at Shasan@kera.org. You can follow Syeda on Twitter @SyedaReports

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