By: Pamela A. Lee, Esquire
Americans are suffering from so much stress these days. Listening to the news the other night, I heard depressing stories regarding the economy, government officials, sexual harassment in the work place, and another mass murderer on a random killing spree in New York City.
On November 1, 2017, the American Psychological Association (APA) released its annual stress survey which measures how stressed Americans feel. This year the survey identified a new source of significant stress: 63% of Americans feel stress over the future of our nation. Money came in second at 62%, work came in third at 61%, and the current political climate came in fourth at 57%. Violence and Crime made the fifth highest stressor at 51%.
Americans also feel stressed over cost of health care, the economy, taxes, social security, and governmental issues.
When I first opened the survey results, I stressed out! The results seemed depressing and I thought – where is the good?
But I read on. Apparently, more than half of Americans are choosing to volunteer. More Americans are also exercising to relieve stress. 74% of Americans feel they have someone whom they can rely upon for emotional support.
Notably, APA found that most Americans (a whopping 87%) “agree on one thing: a desire for people to take a deep breath and calm down.”
More than half of Americans believe this is the lowest point in our nation’s history that they can remember. This feeling spans across generations from adults over the age of 72 – who lived through Pearl Harbor and World War II – to millennials.
Unfortunately, women reported higher stress levels than men, and Black and Hispanic men reported higher stress levels than white men, but still less than women. While older adults reported the lowest stress levels among all of the generations, their stressed levels increased in 2017. Millenials reported the highest stress levels of all the generations.
Although Americans’ stress levels are fairly consistent with prior years, APA reports that Americans are more likely to report the effects of stress. One-third of adults surveyed reported experiencing feeling nervous or anxious, irritability or anger, and fatigue due to their stress.
Interestingly, more than half of Americans report that news consumption and social media causes them stress, but nevertheless they want to stay informed. Remarkably, 72% of Americans reported that the media blow things out of proportion.
For more information, you can find APA’s Annual Stress Survey here.
APA also has an article with tips for dealing with the stress of uncertainty, which you can find here. For example, you can proactively take care of your mental health and reduce stress by limiting your exposure to the news; develop new skills; reflecting on past successes; and taking your own advice (as long as it’s not legal advice that you should be receiving instead from a qualified attorney!)
And, remember to take a deep breath.