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Feeling Stressed? Your Neighbors Are, Too

A survey shows we think we're under a lot of stress in our area. And, we're right.

What do presidential politics, the , a new , your and have in common? Well, they’re all topics of stories we’ve had on Patch this week, but they're all also potential contributors to the stress meter for residents in this corner of Maryland.

And, our stress meter is in the red zone.

Our region reports an average stress level of 5.3, higher than the 5.2 level reported nationally, according to the latest “Stress in America” report from the American Psychological Association. (On the 10-point scale, 1 means little or no stress and 10 is a great deal of stress.)

That means we feel more stress than the rest of the United States, although we also say we are generally more satisfied with our lives (72 percent) than the national average (66 percent).

The way The Washington Post put it: “Twenty-two percent of 1,226 U.S. residents reported extreme stress when cold-called by a market research firm last summer. Moderate stress has eroded microscopically since last year’s survey (from 5.4 to 5.2 on a 10-point scale), although Americans are reporting that their stress has increased over time.”

The report indicated that Americans living on the East Coast report the most stress and “those on the East Coast may be the least able to manage their stress.”

But, basically, we’re all feeling stressed. More adults report that their stress is increasing than decreasing, according to the survey.

What are the big causes of stress? Do we have to ask?

  1. Work
  2. Money
  3. The economy

What does all this stress get us?

  1. Heart disease
  2. Depression
  3. Obesity

That’s enough to stress a person out.

What are your biggest stresses? Respond on our poll or in comments.

Kathy January 14, 2012 at 12:59 PM
I have found that worrying about politics--National and local--stresses me out. So I am doing my best to ignore it. I will no longer read stories about so-and-so destroying the country, so-and-so wants to raise taxes, so-and-so isn't a true whatever. Years ago I instituted a "no gossip" policy among family and friends--I don't want to hear it. Same goes double for politics!
Jane January 14, 2012 at 02:49 PM
Stress is the single-most thing that causes illnesses, even more than what Patch listed. For me, another huge stressor is family issues. To eliminate as much stress as is possible to me, I've had to disconnect from all of the toxic-to-me people, places and things. It was a lot easier to do than I thought! The only problem is is that there seems to be another one cropping up at times, lol! Whenever we project the future, it's always negative. Anyone else ever notice that? So I try not to. As far as money issues, one thing I've learned after a lifetime of worry is that somehow, someway money always works out. That doesn't mean I don't still worry from time to time, esp. in today's lousy economy. It's frightening.
Danna Walker (Editor) January 14, 2012 at 06:01 PM
Thoughtful comments. I just read an in-depth article on how even a small amount of stress affects how well we resist temptations like overeating. The advice? Distract ourselves from temptation. And, I agree -- avoiding things that stress us out as well!
Lynette Stupi January 16, 2012 at 05:38 PM
Stress is inevitable and can take a toll on us mentally and physically. Learning to handle it in a healthy way is key or it can and will break us down in far reaching ways. Know your triggers and how they are going to affect you - will you feel anxious? will you scream? will your guts churn, will you pour a drink? Be ready with a "healthy" game plan.....take a deep breath, take a walk, step away and clear your head so you can think through the situation. Most of us feel stress because we are very good at "catastrophizing" - fast-forward thinking to the worst possible outcome. When a stressor invades us it usually is an opportunity for change - try to find someone who has faced that challenge before you and see how they handled it. Retraining our first reaction to stressors and help us manage a little better and physical activity is a great way to burn off excess adrenaline so we can release the sense of tension in both the mind and body.

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