Stress Levels on the Rise
When dealing with stress, anxiety, and mental health, it’s easy to feel like it’s all in your head and in your head alone. But if you’re working to navigate high stress levels, you have a lot more company, and a lot more support, than you may realize. We are seeing stress levels rising everywhere making it more important than ever to learn what causes stress, who it impacts, and what you can do to help change it.
If you’re working to navigate high stress levels, you have a lot more company, and a lot more support, than you may realize.
Studies Show Stress Levels Rising
Stress levels in 2022 were higher than ever. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), they were up even higher than when the pandemic was most disruptive in 2020 and 2021. And if you’re a woman, you may be experiencing these high stress levels to an even greater degree. More importantly, stress levels are having their greatest effect on daily thought and function.
The APA reports that 27% of adults say their stress sometimes leaves them unable to function. And for certain groups, these rates are even higher, as 46% of Americans under 35 feel this way, including 56% of Black Americans in this same age category.
What does “unable to function” mean? It may look or feel differently to you than to someone else, as we all experience mental health and its effects differently. However, a large portion of those interviewed by the APA indicated having experienced the following:
- No motivation or ability to do anything
- Inability to concentrate
- Difficulty making decisions
And these high stress levels also have effects on your physical health. So if someone tries to tell you that stress isn’t a big deal, that it’s all in your head, or something you should just “get over,” know that you aren’t alone in feeling real, life-disrupting effects. And know that you have viable options for treating stress that have been studied and proven successful, whether you try them here at The Meadows Outpatient Center or at another proven, compassionate treatment provider.
Why Are There High Stress Levels?
Stress levels in 2022 were affected by many factors. There’s been a lot to take in and navigate these past few years, with one major world issue happening after another. Daily life for many is also more expensive and overwhelming than ever. The APA explains that your stress level may be impacted by pessimism about the government, civil liberties, legal protection, and the future in general.
Violence and safety also added to stress-causing concerns in 2022, as well as inflation or simply having enough money to pay for necessities like groceries, rent, and utilities. It turns out this is a concern for nearly 66% of the population in the US. And these money concerns lead to tough decisions, family disagreements, and, of course, more stress.
Phew! With all these major factors impacting our mental health, what are we supposed to do? You can rest assured knowing that you have options and resources, no matter where your stress comes from or what it looks like for you in your life.
What Can We Do About Stress Levels Rising?
First, we can acknowledge that, while rising stress levels are not a good thing, the increased willingness of people to talk about them is. We are slowly chipping away at stigma, shame, and silence around mental health issues. We are recognizing that mental health concerns like stress are real; they have real effects, and most importantly, real solutions.
One way to combat current high stress levels is to really pay attention to your mental health. Look at the mental and physical signs and effects of stress. And don’t be afraid to talk to your medical care provider about what you are feeling and experiencing. In fact, thanks to the US Preventive Services Task Force, primary care providers are now encouraged and provided the tools to screen for anxiety in all patients under 65.
Mental health concerns like stress are real; they have real effects, and most importantly, real solutions.
If identified early and at manageable levels, you can practice some stress-management techniques such as meditation and mindfulness. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also recommends taking care of your body and health, connecting with others, and avoiding drugs and alcohol.
Know When To Get Help
What if these simple steps and tools we’ve offered aren’t enough or seem more stressful than helpful? What if your anxiety is also accompanied by other mental health or substance use concerns that are equally overwhelming? You never have to manage your stress and mental health alone. At The Meadows Outpatient Center, we are staffed with experienced and caring professionals. We offer comprehensive, evidence-based treatment (both in-person or virtually) to help you or a loved one learn how to manage stress, balance mental health, and find a lifetime of healing. Reach out today to learn more.