May 27, 2016

23 Unnerving Stress Statistics

Read more about Stress Statistics

Americans are stressed out. Here are the latest statistics on who's suffering from stress, the causes and effects, and how to manage it.

You know that feeling of tossing and turning for hours on end, your eyes are burning with exhaustion, and yet you can’t fall asleep?

You’ve tried everything – from listening to rainforest sounds to counting sheep to those weird breathing exercises – and yet, you still can’t shut your brain down.

Or maybe you come home after a bad day at work, and eat an entire pizza and tub of ice cream.

Or maybe you feel irrationally irritated, like you’re a little grenade with the possibility of exploding any second.

Yep, that’s stress.

It’s not fun, but it’s what millions of Americans live with every day. Stress can suck the joy out of living and leave you feeling like a little black rain cloud has taken up permanent residence over your head.

But if stress has got you down, you’re not alone. And there are things you can do to manage it.

Let’s take a look at these statistics to understand who’s suffering from stress in America and what they’re stressed about. And then let’s talk about how to deal with it better.

STRESS BY THE NUMBERS

To begin our study, here’s a quick overview of how common stress is in the U.S.

  1. What percentage of Americans have experienced a major stressful event in the last year?
    Stress is a common part of daily life for millions of Americans: 49% of adults report experiencing at least one major stress trigger in the previous 12 months. The biggest reasons for the stress are: illness, death of a loved one, problems at work, life changes, and family issues.

  2. What’s the average stress level?
    On a scale of 1 to 10, Americans rated their average stress level at 4.9, which suggests most people are facing a moderate amount of stress on a regular basis.

  3. What percentage of Americans report extreme levels of stress?
    A stress level of 8, 9 or 10 is considered extreme, and for 22% of adults, it’s an unfortunate reality. This extreme level of stress is mostly due to financial problems.

  4. Are Americans experiencing more or less stress?
    Surprisingly, the average stress level has declined in recent years. In 2007, Americans rated their stress as a 6.2 on a 10-point scale.

  5. Do men or women experience stress more often?
    Between the pressures of work and family, women are more likely to feel stress than men. Overall, women report an average stress rating of 5.3 versus 4.6 for men.

  6. How many Americans say they aren’t dealing with any stress at all?
    For a lucky few, stress doesn’t put a damper on their days. Approximately 1 in 7 Americans say they live virtually stress-free. Maybe it is due to their naturally bubbly personality (as 2/3 of these people say), or they take steps to manage stress (more on this later).

  7. How do the majority of Americans respond to stress?
    Stress and anxiety lead to sleepless nights for many Americans. 70% of adults say their number-one response to stress is losing sleep.

STRESS AND YOUR HEALTH

Research suggests that prolonged stress is damaging to your health. These statistics offer a look at how physically and mentally harmful stress can be.

  1. What percentage of Americans feel physical effects from stress?
    A stress-filled life can take a significant toll on your body, as most Americans have discovered. 77% of Americans say that overwhelming worry causes them to have a physical reaction.

  2. What are the most common physical symptoms caused by stress?
    Stress can manifest itself physically in many ways. For 51% of adults, the most common symptom is fatigue. Headaches, upset stomach, and muscle tension are also reported regularly.

  3. What percentage of Americans say stress affects their love lives?
    For some, stress can put the kibosh on physical intimacy. 15% of Americans say they’ve seen their sex drive drop as a result of stress.

  4. What percentage of Americans are affected psychologically by stress?
    In terms of the mental and emotional impact, 73% of adults acknowledge that stress has caused psychological side effects.

  5. What are the most common psychological symptoms related to stress?
    Half of those who say stress has resulted in psychological symptoms claim to be more irritable and angry. 45% also say they’re more likely to feel nervous when stressed.

STRESS IN THE WORKPLACE

If you dread going into work each day, stress could be the reason why. Take a look at what causes workers to be stressed from 9 to 5.

  1. What percentage of workers say they deal with stress on the job?
    A whopping 80% of workers say they feel stress when they’re on the clock. 40% of workers classify their jobs as being extremely stressful.

  2. What’s the biggest source of workplace stress?
    Overwhelmingly, the demands of their workload is the number-one source of stress for 46% of employees. Another 28% say conflicts with co-workers make their jobs so unpleasant.

  3. How much does workplace stress cost employers?
    When workers are stressed, they’re more likely to see an uptick in the number of days they come in late or call in sick. The total cost of stress to employers runs around $300 billion annually.

  4. What percentage of employees experience stress while juggling work and family?
    For 31% of Americans, stress on the job negatively affects their ability to maintain work-life balance.

  5. What percentage of workers say stress has hurt their job performance?
    Feeling stressed can make it difficult to do your duties – 56% of workers say their job performance has suffered because of the strain.

STRESS AND MONEY

Money is necessary for meeting basic needs, but as these statistics show, it’s also a driving force for increasing stress.

  1. How frequently do Americans stress about money?
    The majority of Americans say money causes their anxiety to skyrocket, and 72% of adults report feeling worried about their finances at least some of the time.

  2. Who’s more likely to have money-related stress?
    Parents and millennials face unique financial challenges, and they have the higher stress levels to prove it. 77% of Americans with children and 75% of 20-somethings say money is a significant source of stress.

  3. What percentage of Americans experience problems in their relationships because of financial stress?
    Arguments over money can be a relationship-killer. 31% of adults report that conflicts over their finances have led to friction with a friend or family member.

  4. How often do millionaires stress about their finances?
    This is surprising: Being rich doesn’t eliminate fears over having enough money. Half of millionaires who have $5 million in the bank or less worry that one wrong move could destroy their net worth.

  5. What’s the number-one money concern for millennials?
    Being able to afford their cost of living is the main source of money stress for 61% of millennials. 58% of young adults also say they’re stressed out about not being able to save anything for a rainy day.

  6. What’s the biggest money stressor for retirees?
    While health issues are a significant concern for older Americans, 61% of baby boomers say the thing they’re most worried about is running out of money in retirement.

HOW TO MANAGE STRESS

People cope with stress in many ways: drinking caffeine (31%), smoking (27%), taking meds (23%), or drinking more alcoholic beverages (20%).

These methods may temporarily feel good, but they cause additional harm to your body in the long run.

There are much healthier ways to manage stress, more permanently:

Any form of exercise is a great stress reliever. Physical activity produces endorphins, or “feel good” chemicals, so your mood literally improves. If you’re stressed, taking it out on the punching bag at the gym or the treadmill is much better than taking it out on a bottle of wine.

You’ll sleep better too without the hangover.

If you prefer something more sedentary, a few minutes meditating can do wonders for your state of mind. It brings you into a state of relaxation, quiets your brain, and helps with gaining clarity. This article goes more into detail and gives you 8 meditation techniques to try.

It’s also important to identify the stress triggers and avoid them. Do you feel like you have more on your plate than you can handle? It’s okay to say “no” if your child’s school asks you to volunteer at the next event. Or if your co-worker asks for your help with an assignment. You may be surprised at how much stress you can eliminate yourself.

And lastly, make time for yourself and do the things that bring you joy, whether it’s reading a book or watching a favorite show or catching up with a friend over dinner. Taking care of yourself is important too, so don’t forget to book some fun time in your busy schedule.

CONCLUSION

For most people, stress is something that has to be dealt with from time to time. The trick to managing it successfully is learning how to pinpoint the most common causes of stress so you can find healthy ways to cope when life’s pressures start piling up.

Whether it’s exercising, reading, or simply a long bubble bath, there are healthy ways to manage stress. And soon, that little black rain cloud will part to reveal blue skies and sunshine again.

Sources:

  • NPR
  • American Psychological Association
  • American Institute of Stress
  • Anxiety and Depression Association of America
  • UBS
  • Bank of America

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