Earlier this month, the American Psychological Association released its annual Stress in America report, which details stress-related trends throughout the nation. And the results? Americans continue to report high levels of stress, which isn’t surprising, but is still a cause for concern. Although a certain level of stress is healthy, too much can result in long-term consequences on both our physical and psychological health – one important reason why we should focus on identifying, understanding, and managing stress in our lives. Here are a few general highlights from the report:
- As in previous years, women report higher stress levels than men. However, women are more likely to report using a variety of strategies to manage stress (i.e. reading, praying, shopping, etc.), while men are more likely to report dealing with stress by playing sports.
- Sources of stress differ among generations. For instance, relationships were pinned as a particularly troubling area for younger adults.
- Stress management techniques differ among regions. For example, residents of the South (that’s us!) are more likely to report expressing their feelings and staying positive as methods for managing stress.
Now, how can we use this information to our advantage? First and foremost, learn to identify signs of stress, such as headaches, difficulty sleeping, and a lack of concentration. Second, don’t ignore these red flags – take action! If you are like the majority of Southerners who tend to enjoy conversations about feelings and ways to stay positive (and even if you aren’t!), seek support among groups of people dealing with similar experiences. Southeast Psych offers a variety of groups that tackle stress and anxiety, so check them out to find one that works for you!