With competition and multi-tasking increasing day by day, people's lives are becoming progressively more stressful. A new survey reveals how nearly half of America is stressed out and how it is impacting our lives.
Stress, as most are aware, plays a pivotal role in influencing the body and mind. Stress can jeopardize sleep patterns and even lead to health problems like heart issues and headaches.
Now, a new survey conducted from March to April 2014 by Harvard School of Public Health, National Public Radio (NPR), and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation reveals that nearly 49 percent of Americans have gone through a "stressful event or experience" in the past year, which greatly impacted their lives.
The poll was conducted on over 2,500 Americans and the findings were released on Monday, July 7. The percentage of people who admitted to have experienced a stressful event were asked "to describe in their own words what the most stressful event or experience" was. Nearly 4 out of 10 people (43 percent) revealed that the event related to health and 27 percent of this percentage cited ailments and diseases. The remaining 16 percent attributed the stress owing to the demise of a loved one.
"What surprised us is that health issues dominated when identifying the most important factor that led to a stressful event," reveals Robert Blendon, professor of health policy and political analysis at Harvard School of Public Health who co-directed the project.
By comparison, a smaller percentage of those surveyed attributed stress to work (13 percent) and alteration in life patterns like shifting home (9 percent). Family situations or issues with children contributed to stress for 9 percent of those polled. Relationship issues or separations/divorces being the reason for stress accounted for 6 percent.
The survey also took into consideration the stress levels of Americans in the last month.
"The public reported various levels of stress over the past month; about a quarter reported having a "great deal" of stress (26%), 37% experienced "some" stress, 23% reported "not very much" stress, and some report having "no stress at all" (14%)," per the survey.
According to the survey's findings, chances of Americans who had lower incomes or were single parents or in hazardous occupations to be more stressed were higher. Moreover, people who had poor health were likely to be two times more stressed than the general public in the past month (nearly 60 percent of those surveyed). Even people with disability had a stronger likelihood of being under "great deal" of stress (45 percent).
The survey also tried to establish how the behavior patterns of Americans altered owing to stress, especially how their health was affected. Those who reported "great deal" of stress in the past month primarily experienced less sleep, followed by less appetite and reduced exercising.
However, not everyone who experienced plenty of stress in the past month let the same overtake their life. Several people turned to activities like meditation, eating well and interacting with loved ones to alleviate their stress levels. Approximately 90 percent of the participants were in agreement that exercising, going outdoors or indulging in a hobby were the best ways to deal with stress. Eighty five percent felt that meditating or prayers help as well; however, only 57 percent did so regularly.
Nearly 70 percent of the participants also revealed that the stress in the past month impacted their lives positively in some way. Interestingly, approximately one in seven individuals revealed that they did not experience any stress whatsoever in the past month. How? Two-thirds of those not stressed believe it was "because of their personality."