AllHealth.news — Stress levels among Americans are reportedly ‘too high’ according to survey published by the American Psychological Association (APA). Stress can influence behaviors that have negative implications for heart health; it is therefore important to avoid stress.
In February last year (2015), the American Psychological Association (APA) released their annual “Stress in America” Survey, which assesses the attitudes and perceptions of stress and identifies its primary causes among the general public.
The survey, completed by 3,068 adults in the US during August 2014, revealed that the primary cause of stress among Americans is money, with 72% of respondents reporting feeling stressed about finances at some point over the past month. Of these, 22% said they had felt “extreme stress” in the past month as a result of money worries.
The second most common cause of stress among Americans was found to be work, followed by the economy, family responsibilities and personal health concerns.
On a positive note, average stress levels among Americans have decreased since 2007. On a 10-point scale, respondents rated their stress levels as 4.9, compared with 6.2 in 2007. However, the APA say such levels remain significantly higher than the 3.7 stress rating we consider to be healthy.
“[Last] year’s survey continues to reinforce the idea that we are living with a level of stress that we consider too high,” says Norman B. Anderson, CEO and executive vice president of the APA, adding that:
“All Americans, and particularly those groups that are most affected by stress – which include women, younger adults and those with lower incomes – need to address this issue sooner than later in order to better their health and well-being.”
Some of the more well-known implications of stress that many may have experienced; include sleep deprivation, headache, anxiety and depression. To reduce or manage stress better, below are some tips recommended by WebMD:
- Keep a positive, realistic attitude. Accept that although you can’t control certain things, you’re in charge of how you respond.
- Get enough rest and sleep. Your body needs time to recover from stressful events.
- Stand up for yourself in a polite way. Share your feelings, opinions, or beliefs, instead of becoming angry, defensive, or passive.
- Learn and practice relaxation techniques. Try breathing exercises, meditation, prayer, yoga, or tai chi.
- Exercise regularly. You’ll feel better and be more prepared to handle problems.
- Eat healthy. Avoid too much sugar. Focus on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. When you’re stressed, you’ll probably want less-nutritious comfort foods, but if you overdo them, they’ll add to your problems.
- Say no, where you can, to things that would add more stress to your life.
- Make time for hobbies and interests.
- Don’t rely on alcohol, drugs, or food to help against stress. Ease up on caffeine, too.
- Spend time with people you love.
- Talk with a counselor or take a stress management class for more help.
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