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Stress levels among people in America have gone down, according to recent studies. The American Psychological Association conducted a survey that polled 3,000 American adults regarding their stress level. The results showed that domestic stress levels have been decreasing since 2007.
The poll asked Americans to consider their stress level and rate it on a scale of one to ten. One being “little to no stress” and ten being “extreme stress.” In 2014, the results came out with an average American stress level of 4.9 per individual. This is down from stress levels being rated at a 5.1 in 2013 and 6.2 in 2007. 2007 was the first year the Psychological Association conducted the survey.
Though, Americans have not reached complete bliss yet. Americans continue to experience greater levels of stress than what the psychological association says is healthy. They consider a rating of 3.7 on the scale as average, manageable stress. Right now, people are still at levels of considerable irritability. Fatigue, anxiety, panic, and many negative health consequences are caused by this. Nearly 42 percent of adults explained they thought they were not doing enough to cope with stress.
Norman Anderson, CEO of the American Psychological Association, stated that even though overall levels of stress have decreased, the idea of living with psychological tension is continuously rooted in American culture. Moreover, people have not found ways to effectively deal with stress.
For example, 20 percent of polled Americans said that they never participate in activities that help manage or relieve stress levels. Though, those that do reported they cope with stress by exercising (43 percent), watching TV for two hours per day (40 percent), or listening to music (44 percent).
Stress is most prevalent among those living in households with an income of $50,000 or less. Households among this demographic report to have a stress rating of 5.2. Households with greater than $50,000 of income rated at a 4.7. In 2007, there was absolutely no gap in levels of stress regarding income. Furthermore, the gender gap stress levels have increased. Stress levels with women are much higher than in men. Almost 50 percent of women reported to have lost sleep due to increased anxiety levels while only 32 percent of men said stress affected them regarding sleep.
Financial concerns appear to be the main arbiter of stress. Financial stress is reported to affect 72 percent of Americans. Over 75 percent of parent-age adults, Gen Xers, and millennials reported that finances are a significant source of stress.
As well, Americans are putting their health on hold. Due to the stresses of money, 12 percent of survey respondents stated they have not visited a physician. Even more importantly, over 30 percent of adults in serious relationships said that finances are major source of conflict within the relationship.
Scientists say that if you have friends there may be light at the end of the tunnel. The survey showed that those with someone with whom they can talk about it have lesser anxiety levels than those who internalized similar levels of anxiety. They are also most likely to turn to healthy outlets for release. Therefore, if you someone in whom you can confide, your stress level may begin to decrease due to the power of friendship.
By Alex Lemieux
Picture: Guiseppe Savo – Flickr License