Americans more stressed about what's coming for America than money, work

Nov. 22, 2017—Almost two-thirds of Americans surveyed say the future of the nation is a source of stress. It's even causing more stress than usual triggers like money and work, according to a new report about stress in the United States.

Each year the American Psychological Association(APA) releases a report on stress. The 2017 report was based on an online survey of almost 3,500 adult Americans. The APA has done this for more than a decade, but this year's survey had some surprises.

What stresses Americans

Almost 60 percent of Americans said they think this is the lowest point in U.S. history they can remember. This was true for adults of different ages, ranging from seniors who lived through Pearl Harbor to millennials who lived through the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Nearly 60 percent of adults reported that disagreement and hostility between people causes them stress. Many Americans are also stressed about these common issues:

  • Healthcare: 43 percent.
  • The economy: 35 percent.
  • Trust in government: 32 percent.
  • Hate crimes: 31 percent.
  • Crime: 31 percent.
  • War and conflicts in other countries: 30 percent.
  • Terrorist attacks in the U.S.: 30 percent.

People also reported feeling conflicted about keeping up with the news. Almost all adults said they follow the news regularly, but more than half reported that doing so causes them stress.

But the report also found something positive: More than half of survey participants said the state of the nation has propelled them into action. They've been inspired to volunteer or support causes important to them.

Stress levels usually differ by geographic region, political party, gender, and race. However, in this year's survey, geography played much less of a factor than in years past. You can read the entire report here.

Lower your stress

Healthy coping skills can help you deal with stress. Consider these tips from the APA:

  • Practice self-care. Eat well, exercise and get enough rest.
  • Control what you can. Focus on what's in your control, even if it's just your daily routine.
  • Ask for help. If you're having trouble coping with uncertainty, help is available. Talk to your doctor.
  • Lower your exposure to the news. Compulsively checking the news can make you more anxious. Schedule downtime, especially before bed.
  • Follow your own advice. How would you respond to a worried friend? Be kind to yourself, and consider a different perspective.

To learn more, you can visit our Stress and Anxiety health topic center.