According to a recent study published by the American Psychological Association, financial concerns and work demands continue to be the top two reasons why adults are stressed. Additionally, adults find that family responsibilities, health and lifestyle changes are more stressful than in previous years. Almost 70 percent of adults reported experiencing a chronic illness and more than 10 percent indicated that they suffer from a mental health condition. Adults in urban areas reported significantly more stress than those living in suburban or rural areas. Noise pollution, overcrowding, and lack of nature are reasons city living can be stressful.
Discrimination Leads to Stress
Discrimination has a significant negative impact on mental and physical health. The study found that approximately 69 percent of adults in the U.S. have experienced some sort of discrimination. Among those in the study, the majority of minorities, such as Black adults, Hispanics, and Asians, feel discriminated on a daily basis.
Gender, age, and sexual orientation also are contributing factors among those discriminated against. In fact, 75 percent of Millennials, compared to 67 of Boomers, reported some form of discrimination. Women report higher stress levels than men, though the gap is closing. LGBT adults and adults with disabilities cited higher stress than those who are not LGBT or disabled. Overall, having a minority status appeared to increase the chances of discrimination.
Despite the group impacted by discrimination, one thing is clear: those who experience discrimination have higher stress levels than those who do not experience discrimination. Researchers suggest that heightened levels of vigilance and changed behaviors can evoke the stress response. This, in turn, also leads to poorer health.
What to Do About Your Stress?
If you are feeling stressed, one of the first steps is to better understand what is triggering your stress. Once you’ve figured this out, you can work on changing your emotions, behaviors, lifestyle, environment or relationships to address stress. Additionally, learning adaptive coping skills to help you manage stress is essential. Coping skills may include meditation, mindfulness, good sleep hygiene, improved communication skills, thought-changing, and exercise. Lastly, working with a psychologist or counselor can significantly help you manage your stress. Engaging with a mental health professional who understands your situation can help you work through your challenges and develop healthy coping skills.