Everyone feels stressed from time to time. When you’re undergoing a difficult period at work or you’re finding yourself in the middle of a personal crisis such as a bereavement, you do expect to feel more stressed. But there is growing evidence to suggest that stress is on the rise across the whole of American society due to various factors, from longer working hours to the influence of social media. In order to assess whether or not that is true, it’s important to take each indicator in turn and to explore what it is doing to cause problems. This article will do just that, and it will also begin to look at some of the possible solutions to the potential stress pandemic.
When the facts and figures around stress are looked at closely, it’s clear that the trends are going in one direction. It is, for example, the case that 55% of Americans told Gallup that they were at one point or another stressed over the course of the day. For the US in particular, this is worrying because it’s around a fifth higher than the average from across the globe.
And there’s more. A third of people who responded to one survey carried out by Everyday Health found that more than one third of US-based people who responded to their poll had been to a physician for something to do with stress over the course of the year – meaning that for many, stress is perceived as being a condition that can require medical intervention.
Stress is a difficult condition to ascribe causality to, and the mere fact that so many people appear to be affected by it is testament to just how many diverse causes of it there must be. But there are some possible causes which are ranked highly as ones that can affect all sorts of people and which contribute particularly to the stress pandemic. The first of those is longer working hours.
Many people find themselves in a position where they are working longer than they ever have before. That is in part due to the fact that living costs have risen, especially in big cities, and while wages have sometimes gone up they have not always risen in proportion to the cost of living. As a result, many people now choose to work longer hours and trade off their spare time for more money to cover the bills. This can leave people stressed for two reasons: first off, it can leave them anxious about normal, day to day tasks such as whether or not the kids were picked up from school. And it can also cause anxieties around whether or not life and work has a positive meaning.
Social media is another one of many possible examples. In a world in which everyone (especially young people) are able to access material online which shows what an amazing time their peers appear to be having, inadequacy – and the stress around it – can easily set in without even being noticed.
How to address it
There’s no silver bullet to solve stress. For individuals, their solutions to stress are diverse and wide-ranging. First of all, it’s always worth checking to see whether or not you are entitled to any assistance. If the cause of your stress is employment-related or to do with your finances, even a seemingly small amount of assistance could do the world of good. You may also be able to find that lifestyle changes – choosing from a selection of CBD vape pens is a known way to help keep your stresses at bay – while incorporating even just 15-minutes of exercise into your day can also help.
On a society-wide level, the possible solutions to the stress pandemic are interesting. Some have suggested that the most appropriate way to fix the pandemic is to introduce a wholesale reduction in working hours, or to invest in the creative arts as a way to help people express themselves and better manage their worries. Others suggest changes to healthcare provision. While there’s no clear right answer just yet, what is obvious is that something needs to be done to bring down the numbers of people who are facing this difficult mental health condition.
With stress now seemingly located around every corner of life, then, something has got to be done. But what that something is seems hard to identify. Whether it’s personal lifestyle changes or something more society-wide, there’s clearly a debate to be had around how to address mental stress in the population.