Do you feel stressed?

 

Do you feel stressed? You are not alone. Many people throughout the world feel stress in their day-to-day lives. People in America, however, may be feeling it a bit more. A new Gallup study reports that stress, worry and anger levels in America are at the highest they’ve been in a decade.

Over 150,000 people were polled around the world, and these feelings of being stressed may be the result of a few different factors.

The U.S. results show that…

Stress, worry, and anger levels have increased across the board. Last year, participants responded to questions about their daily feelings:

  • 55% felt stressed during most of the day
  • 45% worried a lot
  • 22% felt anger a lot

This puts America near the top of the most-stressed countries list, with Greece and the Philippines experiencing the highest levels. Americans experience an above-average amount of worry and an average amount of anger compared to the rest of the world.

2 men, one older, one younger sitting on the couch talking over a cup of coffee

 

Why are we, as Americans so stressed? And what can we do in our day-to-day lives to help?

1. Become aware of your stressors.

Understand what makes you upset. A stressor is a situation that causes us to need to act and that can trigger our body’s stress response. It’s important to identify them individually since as stress levels rise, it becomes increasingly difficult to determine the root causes.

Work can be one of the most common stressors, often due to:

—Unclear requirements
—Unattainable demands
—Low recognition
—High penalties for mistakes
—Lack of challenge

 

2. Learn to quickly reverse your stress response.

Find a way to turn your stress around. Stress becomes a problem when our body’s “stress response is activated for a prolonged period of time, without the body’s returning to its relaxed state.” Therefore, it’s important to figure out ways to deal with stress.

 

Try relaxation breathing, in which you simply find a quiet place to sit and focus on your breathing for a while. “The act of consciously releasing the tension in the body and forcing our breathing to mimic the more relaxed breathing that our body enacts at a resting state can help to reverse the body’s triggered stress response and help to physically relax.”

 

3. Take Care of your body

Exercise is crucial. Living a healthy lifestyle is critical for both your physical and mental health. Maintaining healthy eating, exercise, and sleep habits can make a huge difference.

Even small improvements to your diet, workout routine, or sleep schedule can make a big difference, habits can work off of each other and “one change makes all the other changes come more easily.”

 

4. Get into the right frame of mind

Certain activities may lead to a better mindset. We can control our responses to circumstances, even when the circumstances themselves are beyond our control. It’s all about having a positive attitude. For example, it’s better to avoid the all-or-nothing mindset: Rather than say, “This is the worst day ever,” say, “Today was a bad day.”

5. Cut down on stressors with systems and better time management.

Keep yourself organized. Put systems in place to minimize stress. In virtually all areas of life, it helps to plan ahead — and these plans don’t need to be complicated.

Keep your desk orderly, use to-do lists, and be proactive about starting challenging projects early. Use your lunch break to de-stress by taking a brisk walk, meditating, and reflecting on the things you’re grateful for.

 

6. Avoid toxic people.

Don’t let them drag you down. Most of us know at least one person who takes the wind out of our sails. These toxic people, generally described as critical, unfriendly, judgmental, and filled with complaints, can bring you down with them.

It’s important to identify this person(s) and establish boundaries. Don’t allow yourself to be sucked in. You can be polite, and still, simply avoid them as much as possible, and cut out the stress they bring as a result.

7. Put positive psychology into action.

Work on thinking positively. Start by identifying which areas of your life could improve and which areas bring you the most joy. This can help you figure out if you have enough balance and what you need to better incorporate into your life.

 

8. Practice long-term resilience-forming habits.

Journaling can help. Meditation, exercise, and journaling are three great habits for building resilience. The stress-relieving benefits that come with these are accumulated over time and can have a significant long-term impact.

 

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If you’ve tried to get rid of stress and just can’t shake it on your own. We are here to help. One of our therapists or case managers will meet you, in the comfort of your home, to come up with a plan of care that’s right for you.

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RESOUCES:
Thank you to Jonathan Strum from The Recovery Village for providing us the statistics at the beginning of this post. To learn more about The Recovery Village,
Click here
8 steps to reduce your stress, article by Steven Benn