December 1, 2014 10:00 AM PT

Stress Statistics: New Survey Reveals Top 6 Causes

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Here's a statistic that may stress you out: Almost half of respondents to a recent CreditDonkey survey — 42 percent — said their stress level has increased compared to last year. Will things ever get better?

The answer may depend on what exactly is causing the stress. A picture emerged from our survey of over 1,200 participants that certain areas of our lives cause much more frustration and nagging annoyance than others. See how the ranking below lines up with your stresses and your solutions for minimizing them.

Top Causes of Stress

  1. Finances: A whopping 84% of respondents to the CreditDonkey survey said money brings them stress. From earning and managing it to spending and enjoying it, our finances are constantly weighing on our minds. If we lost our job, what would we do? What if we can’t pay a bill? Will we ever get ahead of our debt, or will we forever be sitting on a growing pile of interest charges? The questions seem never-ending, and the answers are not always clear.

  2. Work: Anyone who ever says they have not felt stressed at their job at some point is lying. At the moment, 75% our respondents said they have stress at work. It could be because of a pushy boss, annoying coworkers, or an insane workload; whatever the reason, the stress compounds when you have to return to a stress-inducing situation day after day.

  3. Lack of sleep: Try pulling an all-nighter and then going about your day as usual. It’s nearly impossible to feel like yourself. Even in less extreme situations, such as staying up too late the night before, a lack of sleep affects everything you do. It’s understandable that 69% of respondents said tiredness stresses them out.

  4. Family: As much as we may love our families, they too can be overwhelming at times. In our survey, 65% said their loved ones are a source of stress. Even the simple things like checking the kids’ homework, taking out the trash or keeping track of everyone’s appointments can become burdening. Bigger issues and disputes make things even more of a challenge.

  5. Relationships: It’s funny how when you’re single, you usually only think about the positives of being in a relationship. Then, once you’re in one, you realize how much effort they require. The survey results show 63% of people view their relationships as stress inducing. Remembering birthdays and anniversaries and working through arguments are just a few of the things that can make any relationship tough.

  6. Health: Worrying about your health can make anyone sick. Who hasn’t taken a tour of WebMD, convinced that a nagging cough may indicate something worse than a common cold? For 55% of our respondents, health is a big source of stress. It’s all so easy to constantly worry about whether you’re eating right (while 51% of women worry about their diet, only 38% of men have the same worry), whether you will catch an illness, or whether you can afford to have good health care over time.

The Top 3 Ways People Relieve Stress

Feeling stressed is natural and unavoidable at times. We all have our way of coping. A few favorites came to light in our survey:

  1. Getting proper shut-eye: Having a good night’s rest is usually a surefire way of shedding stress. It may not solve all of your problems, but you’ll definitely feel better in the morning. The survey revealed 81% of people relieve their stress through sleep.

    Related: Sleep Statistics

  2. Listening to some tunes: 81% also said they listen to music when they feel bombarded with the things going on in their lives. Fortunately, there’s pretty much a song and a genre for any mood, including when you feel tightly wound up.

  3. Eating your way to less stress: This may not be the healthiest solution, but 70% said they reach for food to feel better. If you know that stress is what’s driving you to reach for those potato chips rather than true hunger pangs, then try to aim toward the fruit bowl instead. Feeling unhealthy is only bound to make you feel more stressed in the long run.

While men and women in our survey are on the same page about the top three major stress relievers, they are split between other ways to ease the strain in their lives. Two-thirds of men said they seek relief between the sheets, while only 49% of female respondents said they manage stress with sex. When 55% of the ladies need to relax, they actually prefer cleaning over sex.

© Dave Crosby (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Flickr

The next time you’re feeling stressed about something, at least you know you’re not alone. Our survey shows that feeling bad every once in a while about your monetary situation or just worrying that it will go sour sometime soon is a feeling most everyone has. The same can be said for the exhausted among us and those who feel like pulling their hair out at work. There are so many things that can cause us stress, as well as lots of different ways to try and relieve that stress.

What matters is recognizing when you’re stressed and finding ways to decompress. It can be for your own good. A key driver of chronic illnesses is in fact stress, according to the American Psychological Association. So here’s to finding whatever type of stress relief that works for you — even if that means doing a load of laundry.

(CreditDonkey conducted the online survey of 1,254 Americans, age 18 and over between August 8 and August 12, 2014.)

Jasmine Williams is a contributing writer at CreditDonkey, a credit card comparison and financial education website. Write to Jasmine Williams at Our data-driven analysis has been recognized by major news outlets across the country and has helped families make savvy financial and lifestyle decisions. (read more)

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