Here’s How Stressed Americans Really Are (and How to Manage It)

stress-ball_300Feel like you’ve been more stressed out than ever, lately? You’re not alone: About half of Americans feel the same way.

In a report titled “The Burden of Stress in America,” released this week by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Harvard School of Public Health, researchers surveyed 2,505 respondents about stress. Amongst the findings? For starters: 49% of people have experienced what they would consider “a major stressful event of experience” in the past year—and 43% said their burden had to do with health issues.

Turns out, parents of teenagers are really stressed out: 34 percent of them reported “a great deal of stress” in the past month (that’s almost the same number as single parents). And while 48% of women who were under a great deal of stress in the last month said other family members’ health problems were contributing to their stress, only 25% of men reported the same.

When asked for the everyday events that makes stress even worse, juggling family members’ schedules topped the list (we hear you!). Nearly 40% of people said that households tasks like cooking and cleaning contribute to stress, but even more stressful than that is watching, reading, or listening to the news, and just hearing what the government or politicians are doing put 44% of people over the edge.

The good news is that there’s proven relief for when you’re feeling overwhelmed. The survey also asked people about how effectively certain activities reduced their stress levels. The response:

There’s plenty of hard science to back up many of the items on the list, from the stress-busting benefits of spending time outdoors to the proven mind/body perks of exercise. Read the whole survey here, and check out our complete guide on how to stress less here.


  1. Tom @ Raise Your Garden

    Nice post. I admit I get stressed about everything. My youngest just peed all over her rug after she ripped her own diaper off. I find myself getting angry about the smallest things. I do get a good nights sleep most nights and I love taking the kid’s and going fishing for stress relief.

    July 10, 2014 at 4:27 pm
  2. Dave M

    Interesting post. Here is my solution to this problem.

    If you feel unhappy and stressed, follow these tips:-

    1. Get up, and no matter what the weather is like, get out. If it’s wet and windy, put on a hat and coat and get some fresh air. This will clear your head and you will immediately begin to see your problems from a different view point.

    2. If you are living in an urban situation, start walking until find a local park, public gardens or some other area of open countryside, if you live in the countryside you are already halfway to gaining a perspective on your problems.

    3. Take five or six really deep breathes, exhaling completely. Get rid of all that stale air that is fostering those thoughts of doom emanating from your brain and pervading your whole body.

    4. Fill your lungs with that fresh country air, enjoy the scent of freshly cut lawns or on a summer evening the smell of wild herbs and the sound of crickets chirping. If you are fortunate enough to be up at sunrise, listen to the lark and blackbird as they sing their hearts out announcing the dawn of a new day.

    5. You don’t have to be religious to be inspired at the wonder of the world we live in and the realisation that we are so lucky to be, albeit a very tiny cog in the continuing evolution of the planet we live on.

    These are the feelings, those of us who daily get on our bikes, whether to pedal to work or to just go for a ride, get by being closer to reality, or for those who are of a religious nature might say, closer to God,

    The exercise, that cycling gives us, is total. It builds our leg, back, arm, neck muscles and strengthens our heart. It expands our lungs and improves circulation. The general improvement this exercise gives us in the way we feel, lifts our spirits and helps us to put our problems into perspective and to identify solutions that will put our lives back onto an even keel.
    Bike riding, is not just beneficial to your physical and mental health, it is also an excellent form of exercise to do in conjunction with a healthy eating plan, if you need to lose weight.
    As with starting any new form of exercise, if you have any concerns about your current state of health, see your doctor before you start.

    So, get ON YOUR BIKE and begin living a new happier healthier life! Happy cycling!
    Please visit my website and leave a comment.

    July 13, 2014 at 4:31 am
  3. Beatriz

    My biggest stress is caused by the every day routine. I have 2 children; one is 7 and a 10 month old. The baby is crawling and l feel like I am constantly chasing him around and I have no time for my oldest. After I do all of the cooking and cleaning, and I want to lay down for a bit to read a magazine or book, which is what I enjoy doing the most, my oldest child wants me to play with her. I feel like I never have a minute for myself. It’s killing me. I try to go for walks to the park with the kids every day, and I exercise at home 3 times a week, but I still feel very stressed. I wish my husband and I could take a vacation without the kids.That will really release my stress.

    July 15, 2014 at 10:19 pm
  4. Harriet

    Work…work…work…I am being micromanaged by someone who is self-important and militant and the stress and frustration level for me is over the top. I find myself in tears or in constant defensive mode all the time. On top of that I am nursing a broken ankle and am in pain a lot of the time, which my employer couldn’t care less about. I also cant exercise right now because of the ankle (which I used to do 2 times a week) and that makes me feel sluggish and frustrated as well. I am feeling as though I am at the edge of a cliff, just about to jump. Vacation is in November so for now I am trapped and unhappy. The bright spot in my week is my dog and the fact that the ocean is just a few minutes away and time spent Oceanside is always amazing.

    July 17, 2014 at 9:52 am
  5. How To Strengthen Lower back

    How To Strengthen Lower back

    Physicians will attest that the human body was not created to run marathons. Often, many men and women’s knees are terribly injured because they have jogged a great deal in the past. It is a popular form or exercise, but can cause great harm when done in the wrong way. Since it is known to cause injury, many people also think that running is one of the causes of how to strengthen lower back.

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    July 25, 2014 at 5:56 pm
  6. Chamois B. Lopez (@chamoiswriting)

    Thanks for the article. I practice the top five things listed on the infographic each day. Some days, I have to force myself outside more than once, but I find morning meditation works wonders I didn’t experience before I started the practice.

    July 28, 2014 at 7:21 pm
  7. Debbie Fisher, Managing Partner of Life’s Leading Ladies

    Thanks for this article and the fantastic recommendations offered to reduce stress. As a woman’s coach, I work with women who feel trapped and underappreciated in the many roles they play rejuvenate their confidence and courage so they can pursue their desires guilt free, while fulfilling the needs of the others in their lives. What I have found in addition to your recommendations (which are mostly centered around SELF CARE), is helping them view the world through different lenses and look for all the things in their lives for which they are grateful. When a person makes time for themselves, they are actually able to do and give so much MORE to others because they are more energized, focused and creative.

    August 21, 2014 at 1:48 pm

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