American stress is on the rise

Posted February 17, 2017

Americans are more stressed than ever, which shouldn't come as much of a surprise to anyone living in America who owns a smartphone or TV.

More than half of Americans say the current political climate is a source of stress in their lives, according to a new survey.

Broken down into two-party numbers, 72% of Democrats report the outcome of the 2016 election as a significant form of stress, where only 26% of Republicans say the same.

The APA recommends those experiencing stress related to the election and the political climate should perhaps take a break from the news and do something else. Furthermore, 49% of participants reported they felt anxious about the election's outcome and 66% reported they were extremely stressed about the future of the nation. During and after the election, a lot of them also cited politics as a major stress factor.

"The stress we're seeing around political issues is deeply concerning, because it's hard for Americans to get away from it", said Katherine C. Nordal, PhD, APA's executive director for professional practice in a press release from APA.

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The last regular APA Harris poll was taken in August of past year - but the Association commissioned an addition poll in January 2017, and that pol found the first spike in American stress levels since the survey began.

City dwellers, at more than 60 percent, are about twice as stressed out as Americans in rural areas as a result of the election, while the millennial age group shows the highest stress level of any generation in the survey, at more than 55 percent. "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".

Roughly 55 percent of Latinos and Asians reported high levels of election-related stress. There's so much to consume and internalize that people's hyper-vigilance is causing more harm than good. "It can make existing health problems worse, and even cause disease, either because of changes in the body or bad habits people develop to cope with stress".

You can read the rest of the survey right here. It's a vicious cycle that people need to actively remove themselves from, she said. Also, mental health experts working with veterans in VA hospitals reported their patients making comments such as "I did not risk my life for this", according to a member of APA's Stress in America team and a licensed psychologist, Vaile Wright.