A majority of American adults, 87%, said that they feel like there has been a constant stream of crisis without a break over the last two years. My thoughts when I read the results of Stress in America™: Not surprising and I guess I’m not alone.
Source of Stress: Money and War
Among those polled, 87% said that their sources of stress stem from inflation. While 80% said that potential retaliation from Russia and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine stressed them out.
All this uncertainty coming after more than two years of COVID. 63% said that their lives have been forever changed by the pandemic. Particularly, we see changes in physical and mental health, and relationships.
- 58% experienced a relationship strain. These strains stem not only from COVID precautions but differing views about vaccines and health risks.
- 63% said time was a blur.
- 47% felt very lonely
- 47% said that they were less active than they wanted to.
- 66% agreed that with each new variant, they lose hope that the pandemic will ever end.
On the brighter side, 71% American got better at prioritizing as a result of the pandemic.
Here are ways I’ve been coping since the pandemic and the recent crisis. I want to point out that although I write extensively about wellness and health, I’m not a mental health expert or a psychologist. But these strategies have helped me out.
When it comes to the war, my stress comes from two places: helplessness and fear. To combat these two, I donate to causes that can help with the refugees, such as UNHCR. To resist feeding on my fear, I make sure to stay informed about the war, but resist doom scrolling. This refers to the act of consuming, over and over, the same negative information.
For me, knowledge about finances relieves stress. When you know exactly what you can and can’t afford, you can plan better. Of course, this is easier said than done.
For example, money stressor affect certain groups of population more than others. In the survey, younger adults (18-43) are more likely to say that money is a significant source of stress compared to older adults. Moreover, race and ethnicity also play a role. In the survey, money as a significant stressor is higher for Latino (75%) compared to Black (67%), White (63%) and Asian (57%) adults.
On Relationships and the World
First, when it comes to relationships, FaceTime has helped me keep in touch with close family members. Second, with differences in opinion, I try to remember commonalities more than what sets me apart from the person I’m interacting with. As a result, I avoid topics that I know will cause friction. My mantra: we are more than our political views.
When the world feels like it’s caving in, I keep in mind the Rabbit Effect. At the end of the day, how we treat each other affects our health significantly. It starts with ourselves, our one-on-one relationships, and this expands to our larger community networks. This survey is a good reminder that we are all in a state of vulnerability and to take this into account as we move through our day.
Like most, time took on a different feeling since the pandemic. Time goes by in a blur and I find myself unable to keep up. Ever since the pandemic, I started logging how I spend my days. I assess moments when I feel time slow down and these happen when I either let my mind wander, or let myself focus outside of work. Going for walks and watching a movie or show with my husband allow my mind to drift. On the other hand, activities that let me to focus outside of work, be it yoga or playing the guitar also slow me down and provide a sense of calm. The point is to find a headspace that allows you to let go or find focused flow.
About the Survey
The American Psychological Association along with The Harris Poll, conducted the survey on February 7 and 14, 2022, and March 1-3.