Mental Health Month: Stress and Anxiety in America


Recently, a company call Gallup completed their annual World Emotions Report. Conducting over 151,000 interviews with people all around the globe, the company complied reports of various experiences and emotions to provide a picture of the world’s emotional health. When we look at the American data, not a lot of it is encouraging.

 

Compared to past years, Americans are more stressed than ever. 45% of adults reported feeling stressed and worried the day before the interview. That is almost half of all of the Americans that were interviewed, and 22% higher than the global average. This is particularly significant in the young adult and the working generation. About 65% of Americans aged 19 to 49 expressed feeling stressed. In addition, the youngest Americans are angry. About 32% of young adults reported feeling angry or riled up the day before.

 

Considering the status of performance culture in American society, massive reports of stress and anger may not be uncalled for. A lot of adult stress in America has been attributed to a change in leadership or an unpleasant boss. As we approach an economic recession, pressure from the workplace combined with uncertainty for the future occupy the working class’ minds. A lot of Americans come home feeling not only worn from their day of work, but they are also fearful that one wrong move may deprive them of life in the cubicles.

 

The workplace isn’t the only thing people are stressed. Recent reports from the American Psychological Association reported that 62% of Americans feel that the current political climate is a significant stressor. That translates to about 6 in every 10 American. More significantly, 69% of Americans are stressed about the country’s future.

 

Although we might not be able to change what is stressing us out, we can take a step back for ourselves. May is mental health month, and it is time to be introspective about our mental health. Stress is something universal, and a part of living. If you feel overwhelmed, here are some ideas for destressing:

 

  • Volunteer your time: The good thing about the toil in our country is that people are willing to do something about it. According to the American Psychological Association, the country’s future has encouraged 45% of Americans to feel more compelled to volunteer and support a cause. If you like to put thoughts into actions, volunteering at a local organization and finding ways to supporting a cause you believe in could be the right way to kick off May.
  • Be realistic: If you feel overwhelmed, chances are you are taking on more responsibilities than you can handle. These responsibilities might be important to you, but it is okay to recognize that you’re tired and ask for help. It’s okay to say no to new activities because you need to take time for yourself. If anyone asks why to share why you are making new changes. Look at your schedule and ask yourself: What is absolutely necessary? What isn’t? And How can I make this day better?
  • Do something you like: It is no secret that doing something you enjoy can make you feel infinitely better. While mediation and mindfulness is a favorite amongst de-stressor activities, it doesn’t have to work for everybody. Singing your favorite song, picking up an old or new hobby, and spending time with good company can all be great de-stressors to feel a little more like yourself. Keep in mind that there’s more than one thing that works, and exploring all your options can be liberating and fun.
  • Talk and listen: When you feel your stress hit an all-time high and your mood hit an all-time low, good social support can be crucial to getting you back on track again. Even on a good day, happy ones, the sharing it with another person can make the joy so much sweeter. Connect with good friends and family, and reach out to them if you’d like. Although, if there are things that you don’t feel comfortable sharing with close ones, you can search for good counselors and therapist. They tend to be good listeners, and many charges on a sliding scale based on your income. Nowadays, you can even reach out to counselors online or on your phone. If you are a college student, your school may even offer counseling appointments and after-hours phone lines. Many organizations even offer phone lines and text lines.
  • Lastly, a lot of us are scared of the future and stressed about things that we can’t necessarily control. And while the answers to your problems may be complex and require extreme effort to reform, it is important to understand what you can do now and focus on that. Because if you get through today, you can see tomorrow.

 

References

Fitness 4Mind4Body: Stress. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/conditions/fitness-4mind4body-stress

Gallup 2019 global emotions report. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.gallup.com/analytics/248906/gallup-global-emotions-report-2019.aspx

Igarashi, H., Levenson, M. R., & Aldwin, C. M. (2018). The development of wisdom: A social-ecological approach. The Journals of Gerontology, 73(8). Retrieved from Oxford Academic database.

October 30, 2018 APA stress in America™ survey: Generation Z stressed about issues in the news but least likely to vote. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2018/10/generation-z-stressed

U.S. leads in the worldwide anxiety epidemic. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/shouldstorm/201904/us-leads-in-the-worldwide-anxiety-epidemic

 

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