The APA Report on Stress in America

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The American Psychological Association conducts an annual survey to assess overall stress levels and the sources that generate our concerns. Before 2016 the main issues were money, work and the economy. In 2016 people were becoming focused on the presidential election. Those who use social media appeared more concerned about the election (54%) than those who do not use social media (45%).  A recent poll indicated that the current political climate and the future of the country were significant sources of stress.  The election was of concern to 58% of millennial, 48% of mature adults, 45% of “Boomers” and 39% of GenXers.  It was noted that  53%of individuals with higher education were more upset, compared to 38% with a high school (or less) education. In addition, urban dwellers (62%) were more upset by these issues than rural residents (33%)

People now seem more upset about personal safety. Police violence toward minorities and concerns about terrorism have also increased.  It was noted that people have reported an increase in symptoms of stress (71% in August 2016 to 80% in January of this year). In fact, the main causal factors for stress appear to be: the economy (48%); terrorism (34%) and mass shootings and gun violence (31%).  58% of individuals also included health problems as a significant source of stress.

Respondents in the survey reported that they could be more effective at managing their stress. The coping strategies reported by women included: walking (48%) ,going online (32%), watching T.V. (38%), social interactions (44%), reading (44%), praying (40%) and eating (38%)

It is well documented that chronic stress will result in a variety of physical and psychological disorders.  The emotional and physical benefits of effective stress management cannot be understated. Clearly, physical exercise, diet and appropriate sleep patterns all contribute to our ability to cope with the daily and chronic stressors in our lives. When stress becomes too intense to manage or if you feel immobilized by anxiety professional help is suggested. Call the Columbia Counseling Center at 410-992-9149 and schedule an appointment for assistance.