In a recent survey, 61% of Americans say their stress levels are higher than ever, and 55% claim that level of stress prevents them from enjoying life.
Sadly, the high-stress epidemic impacts all generations, from boomers to Gen Z. While each group stresses over different things, the truth is that Americans need to learn how to handle their stress before it has disastrous or even deadly results.
Newsflash: Americans Feel the Weight of Stress
It should come as no surprise that adults in the United States experience high stress levels. The survey, conducted by Clever Real Estate, polled respondents about what caused them the most stress. Financial issues appear on the list several times:
- 80% – Cost of living
- 73% – Inflation
- 61% – Personal finances
- 57% – Mental health
- 55% – Debt
- 53% – Physical health
- 49% – Home
- 48% – Relationships
- 45% – Job
The effects of stress on the human body are well-documented. It can cause or exacerbate chronic conditions like heart disease and high blood pressure. It can create the perfect storm for stroke and heart attack. It can also cause several digestive issues and weaken the immune system, not to mention lead to insomnia, obesity, and mental health issues.
And the physical symptoms of stress do not discriminate.
Unfortunately, battling stress is rarely a one-time thing. Your struggle will continue until the root of the issue is adequately addressed and managed. It affects people in several ways as it slowly creeps into every part of an individual's life, from job to relationships, and even self-worth and confidence.
Stress Severely Impacts Quality of Life
Some 55% of U.S. adults cannot enjoy life, due to stress or its symptoms, and 48% reporting that they cry at least once a week. Sadly, 30% of the respondents say that they are not doing anything to help or improve their mental health or reduce tension.
Stress is also widely recognized as harming relationships, with 59% of Americans citing it as a major cause of difficulty in marriage, romantic relationships, and other familial relationships, as well as friendships. It has the potential to be particularly damaging to families. Parents may take it out on their children, spouse, or both as they get more and more stressed.
The coping methods people turn to may also add to the problem. More than 40% of adults say they overeat to deal with stress, and 39% turn to alcohol to find relief. These harmful coping methods highlight a substantial need for better mental health services and better access to mental health resources.
Even though they may not follow through, more than three-quarters of the respondents feel that if more people prioritized mental health, the world would be a better place, and 52% would gladly pay higher taxes to see improved mental health services supported by the government.
Younger Generations Report Being More Stressed
The younger generations are having a more challenging time now than older generations. The current decade has been formidable for all generations; 45% of U.S. adults citing it as the most stressful decade in sixty years.
Millennials and Gen Z are getting hit the hardest. Right now, stress is the highest it's ever been for 65% of millennials and 64% of Gen Z. The majority of Gen Z (61%) rate their stress level as “unreasonable” and feel that they experience more stress than the average person. Both millennials (55%) and Gen Z (55%) report difficulty functioning due to stress. Only 30% of baby boomers feel this way.
Housing prices are a significant concern for millennials, with 64% citing it as a primary stressor. On the flip side, 34% of American homeowners believe they would not be as stressed if they did not own a home.
As the younger generations struggle more with stress, many don't have adequate coping mechanisms to deal with the pressure, and they strive in vain to find things to be grateful for.
Inescapable Stressors of American Life
While 2 in 3 Americans say that social media is a significant stressor and is bad for society, they can remedy this by logging off or putting down the phone. Other catalysts for stress are more challenging to manage.
Low salaries (57%) and poor work-life balance (46%) are two significant stressors that are more difficult to avoid. Employees are often overworked with assigned tasks and longer than regular shifts, with poor benefits and inadequate paid time off. The stress from these factors leads to burnout and low employee morale, which impacts the economy by creating increased unemployment due to the high turnover rate.
Combining low pay with an increasing cost of living translates to most Americans can't get their heads above water. Prices are rising, but salaries are not keeping pace. Individuals looking for relief may turn to furthering their education, gaining more marketable skills, or exploring relevant self-improvement tips to get ahead.
Tips for Surviving a Stressed-Out World
Unfortunately, many people cope with stress in unhealthy, even destructive ways. Experts recommend avoiding substances like alcohol, drugs, and smoking to relieve stress.
Instead, they offer more productive, healthier ways, including:
- Meditate or pray
- Spend time with a pet
- Talk to a friend or family member at least once a week
- Seek counseling
- Pursue a hobby like reading, knitting, art, or crafts
- Explore self-care ideas that suit the individual, such as turning off all devices for an hour or two, taking a long, hot bath, or getting a massage
The living conditions in the United States are not likely to improve in the near future. Individuals who feel they are in crisis should take action to improve their mental health. The emphasis needs to be on better mental health for all.
This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.