Every year, the American Psychological Association (APA) conducts a Stress in America Study. Typically work and money top the list of stressors. Because 2017 was anything but typical with the political climate, they added a few more topics in their study. There were 3440 in the survey. Starting with the most stressful to the least stressful areas: the future of our nation, work, money, current political climate and violence and crime.
Future of the nation
Sixty-three percent of the people in the Stress in America survey had concerns about the future of our nation. Specific questions were asked about the area of concern. In order from the most stressful to least stressful were: healthcare, economy, trust in government, hate crimes, crime, war/conflict with other countries, terror attacks on U.S. soil, high taxes, social security, and government controversy.
An interesting finding about the concern with healthcare is that there was no more stress about the cost among those who had a higher income vs. lower income. Those that did not have healthcare did experience more stress than those who did.
Divisiveness of the nation
Six in ten adults have concerns with the divisiveness in the nation. Democrats are feeling more stress than Republicans. Older adults feel that the current state of the nation is worse than they can remember, including those who were alive during World War 11, Cuban Missile Crisis and the Cold War.
Women are feeling more stress than men. APA has done this survey for 10 years, and women have consistently felt more. Twenty-five percent of men experience stress related to crime and conflict, whereas 37% of women do.
It should not be a surprise that White men experience less stress than Black and Hispanic men.
In the past, adults over the age of 73 had the least amount of stress. While they still do, the average stress has gone from 2.7 (on a scale of 1-10) to 3.3. Millennials (18-38) have the highest level of stress, which is typical. Their level of stress on the scale is 5.7
The news is an additional source of stress. Many people turn to social media or the news for updates to stay current. Some people check their phones constantly for updates. While people want to stay current, many people experience stress, as so much of the news is negative. Most people also feel that the media exaggerates the intensity of issues.
Regarding money concerns, about 1/3 had worries about expenses that they did not plan for, 1/3 about being able to save for retirement and 1/4 about money for everyday items.
Effects of stress
Symptoms of stress people comment on in the survey include trouble with sleep, anxiety, annoyance, and low energy.
While there are obvious negative consequences of stress on health, there are several ways to cope with it in a healthy manner. Fifty nine percent of the people surveyed in Stress In America decided to take action to deal with their stress. Things they did were to volunteer, or endorse some type of boycott or petition.
Chronic stress obviously comes along with health risks. According to the study other healthy methods people used to reduce stress include meditating and doing yoga, praying, working out, going for a walk, and listening to music. These are just a few ways to reduce stress. Everyone is different, so it is important that you find a way to blow off steam that works for you. It may be a good idea to limit the amount of media influence you have in your life if looking at it adds to your stress. Please see some of these other blogs for stress management tools: benefits of yoga, and how to reduce stress.
If life seems overwhelming for you, or you have too much stress in your life, therapy can help. Give me a call at 713-304-6554.