Remember the old Mad Magazine character, Alfred E. Neumann, with his gap toothed grin and the iconic phrase – “What, Me Worry?” Sorry to tell you Alfred, but it appears Americans are doing a lot more than just worrying these days. A new study by the American Psychological Association found that stress and anxiety levels are at record highs in our country.
If misery loves company, it should be thrilled: Americans left and right are under so much stress it’s now registering on the American Psychological Association’s anxiety meter.
For 10 years, the APA has been running its “Stress in America” survey, usually finding that stress is caused by three primary factors—money, work, and the economy. Those factors clearly play a role in the current national mood. Younger Americans are worried about college debt, older ones about retirement, and everyone, it seems, about the economic prospects of the next generation. In the study, respondents with incomes below $50,000 reported higher stress levels than those with higher incomes.
According to Fox News, today’s political climate is also adding to the stress. “57 percent of those polled deemed the political climate a very significant or somewhat significant stress source. Almost half said the same about electoral outcomes. 72 percent of Democrats said the outcome of recent elections was a significant stressor, while 59 percent of Republicans considered the nation’s future a substantial source of stress.”
The Washington Post quoted Vaile Wright, a licensed psychologist and member of APA’s Stress in America team, as saying –
“It seems to suggest that what people thought would happen, that there would be relief [after the election] did not occur, and instead since the election, stress has increased. And not only did overall stress increase, what we found in January is the highest significant increase in stress in 10 years. That’s stunning.”
Psychology Today offered several tips to help you de-stress if you’re feeling anxious or stressed out, including:
- Limit time spent watching or listening to the news
- Practice mindfulness
- Focus on parts of your life where you do have control
- Find support and take action if you need to
Share your thoughts on this new report and whether you believe the people of your community are more stressed out this year. Making sure we take care of our mental health as well as our physical health is vitally important if we hope to one day reach our goal of making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!