Vote: It’s good for you!

Regular readers of this blog will have little trouble figuring out which end of the political spectrum I intend to vote for this coming Saturday.  But regardless of who you personally support, please make sure you vote.  In case you need a reason to vote, it turns out research suggests that voting is actually good for your psychological health…

“In a close election… …the sense that you can make a difference becomes more pronounced… …says Lynn Sanders, PhD, associate professor of politics at the University of Virginia. “That transforms the act of voting to one that is more like the act of protest or fighting.”

When you believe you’re doing something that could make your life better, that’s where the psychological benefits come in, says Sanders, and all of the additional physical benefits attributed to voting are connected to those mental health benefits.” (Click here for the whole article)

At the last election the voter turnout was one of the lowest ever in New Zealand history.  And regardless of how you view the events described in Nicky Hager’s book “Dirty Politics”, the strategies of attack politics is clear:

“The are a few basic propositions with negative campaigning that are worth knowing about. It lowers turnout, favours right more than left as the right continue to turn out, and drives away the independents. Voting then becomes more partisan.”  (Simon Lusk, National Party strategist, quoted in “Dirty Politics” Hager, N.  p. 132)

So forget what I say, and definitely forget what the polls say.  Ignore the media pundits, don’t listen to your friends, your family or your partner.  Vote with your heart, support what and who you believe in.  Vote for the kind of New Zealand you want to live in.

And whatever you believe, please take the time to vote.  Psychologically speaking, expressing what you believe is good for you.

Feeling that we cannot achieve everything we know needs to be done — we have neither the power nor the skills to solve the daunting problems of poverty, injustice, despoliation of the environment — we give up on politics, retreat into our private lives (leaving our political aspirations and values to slumber) and do nothing.  Again, the insights of psychotherapy might be useful here. If we can accept that political perfection is unattainable, if we ask of ourselves only that we be good-enough citizens (just as we can only hope for good- enough leaders), we may be freed from the sense of despair that paralyzes us at present, so that those political hopes and impulses can reawaken.”  (Click here for the whole article)

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