Americans Are Experiencing Stress Overload

Finding Balance in a Chaotic World

By WEEK Producer

July 13, 2010 Updated Jul 13, 2010 at 2:46 PM CDT

The first week of December the American Psychological Association reported that 80% of Americans report they were stressed about their financial status. The announcement of more layoffs at employers like Caterpillar is only adding to that stress.
Specifically, the American Psychological Association survery found:
• 7000 Americans were involved in this study and it is reported that within the past 5 months anxiety about the economy has risen from 68% to 80%.
• 50% of the responders said they are concerned about being able to provide for their family and their basic needs.
• 56% reported they are worried about job stability and fear losing their job without notice.
• Women have a higher anxiety rate than men because they feel the pressure to make finances and budget demands fall on them
• Americans are facing emotional and physical effects related to the economy downturn.

What are researchers discovering about the emotional and physical effects of stress?
• Anxiety disorders and mood disorders (depression) are at a dramatic increase
• Suicides rates are up and hospitals and help lines are feeling the change
• Americans report being more irritable and angry than ever before
• Responders say they are having difficulty with sleeping and are having experiencing increased fatigue with a lack of concentration

What are some things we can do to manage some of our anxiety?
• Create a budget for 2009. The key is to be as specific as possible and make sure your budget includes weekly and monthly targets. Dedicate yourself to sticking to your budget and stay away from frivolous spending patterns.
• Talk with your family about ways to save money and try to brainstorm some ways that everyone can chip in and help the family.
• Look at your life in the big picture. Witness the things in your life that make you grateful (health, housing, having your basic needs met, etc).
• Remember that through adversity we have the opportunity to become stronger.

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