The United States of Stress: How We Got Here and What We Can Do About It
It’s no secret that stress levels in the United States are on the rise. A 2017 survey found that adults in the U.S. reported higher levels of stress than the year before, with one in four respondents saying their stress had increased in the past year. And it’s not just adults who are feeling the pressure. A separate study found that nearly one-third of American teenagers say they are “extremely stressed,” with school being the number one source of their stress.
So what’s behind this increase in stress? And what can we do about it? Let’s take a closer look.
The Causes of Stress
There are a number of factors that can contribute to stress, both in our personal lives and in the world around us. Here are some of the most common causes of stress:
· Work: Job insecurity, long hours, and difficult workloads can all lead to stress at work.
· Money: Financial worries are a major source of stress for many people.
· Family: Relationship problems, caring for loved ones, and juggling family responsibilities can be stressful.
· Health: Chronic health problems, caring for a sick loved one, and worrying about our own health can cause stress.
· The world around us: Political instability, natural disasters, and other global issues can also contribute to our stress levels.
How Stress Affects Our Health
When we’re stressed, our bodies go into “fight or flight” mode, releasing hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. This can lead to a number of physical health problems, including:
· High blood pressure
· Heart disease
· Digestive problems
· Sleep problems
· Memory and concentration problems
What We Can Do About Stress
Fortunately, there are a number of things we can do to manage stress and improve our health. Here are some tips:
· Get regular exercise: Exercise is a great way to reduce stress and improve our overall health.
· Eat a healthy diet: Eating healthy foods can help our bodies better deal with stress.
· Get enough sleep: Getting enough sleep is crucial for our physical and mental health.
· Take breaks: When we’re feeling overwhelmed, taking a few minutes to relax and rejuvenate can make a big difference.
· Connect with others: Spending time with family and friends can help reduce stress.
· Seek professional help: If you’re struggling to manage your stress, talking to a therapist or counselor can be very helpful.