What's stressing us out and keep us up at night:
Bottom Line: Some of us are just more prone toward worrying. Some of us can't turn our brains off. So how many of us are literally losing sleep due to stress? A lot...
The American Psychological Association recently produced a study showing that most of us are stressed about many things to the extent that it's negatively impacting everyday life. We all remember all of the research from the 2016 election cycle citing political stress at record levels by researchers (though I'll point out that it's important to remember that it's been considerably worse regardless of one's perspective - think WWII - Great Depression & the Civil War for starters...). Turns out that we aren't moving on from all of that stress. The APA found most of us stress daily about these things:
Future of the country: 63%
Social Divisiveness: 59%
That's a lot of worry especially when you only have any meaningful control over two of them in your day to day life and those are just the ones most of us stress about. Here are some of the other biggest issues:
You start putting several of these together and pretty soon you have a wall of worry climb - meaning that even if you feel better about one thing, there's almost one or two other concerns you have that'll take its place. The most constructive advice that's far easier to say than to do is to control what you can control and minimize the energy you expend on what you really can't. Here's the good news. Often our stress and realities aren't equitable either. For example, let's take a look at each of these issues and see if they've improved or worsened this year...
Country's direction - if you look beyond political angst the economy is the healthiest it's been since 2005 and has forward momentum.
Money - if you invest you've almost certainly had success. If you haven't make it a priority when you're able. Growth of your investments can certainly take the edge off of other day-to-day financial concerns
Work - the unemployment rate is the lowest in nearly 17 years - that doesn't make your job less stressful but it did provide additional opportunity should you desire it
Social divisiveness - this is real and isn't changing but do you need to engage it to the extent that you might?
Healthcare - this is worse but have you fully explored all available plans/options? How about exploring the cost of medical services before receiving them? Research shows the average person doesn't even spend 15 minutes reviewing healthcare plans before selecting one
Economy - again the economy is the best in 12 years right now. That doesn't mean that everyone's participating but that's always the case.
Government - I'm with you but have you ever been completely thrilled with it?
Crime/Terror - this is a legit concern too but are you doing what you can to reduce the risk of being victimized?
So, here's the thing, of the top nine stressors fewer than half are as bad or worse than what we've experienced in recent years. Many of the others are significantly better in general. Are we carrying stress with us unnecessarily? In many cases the answer is probably yes and if you're pragmatic in your approach (as opposed to emotionally driven), you might find you can relax a bit more than you've been accustomed to of late.