More than three quarters of Americans are afflicted by stress, including Kim Kardashian and Sheryl Sandberg. Here’s how they deal
Don’t let this stress you out.
Most Americans (79%) are afflicted by stress, according to a recent Gallup poll, with 44% feeling frequently stressed during their day. And as Stress Awareness Month in April spurs healthcare professionals and experts to raise public awareness about the causes and cures for stress, the reason for much of this angst may surprise you.
Politics stress more than half of the nation out, according to the American Psychological Association’s most recent Stress in America survey. And while money and work remain the most common stressors, uncertainty about the future of the nation has become a rising trend among Americans.
Of those polled, 43% stress about healthcare; 35% associate stress with the economy; 31% are stressed about hate crimes; and 30% stress about a terrorist attack occurring in the United States. Women saw an increase in their stress levels over the previous year, while men’s stress levels dropped .2%.
The way stress manifests varies from person to person. Nearly half of Americans report lying awake at night, and about a third of adults cited feelings of anxiety or nervousness as a result of being stressed. Additionally, 35% said stress triggers feelings of irritability or anger, and 34% attribute excessive fatigue to their stress.
“Our bodies are impacted by chronic stress in nearly every way imaginable. In today’s modern world, we often find that people are mounting this cortisol stress response to everyday things like work and raising a family,” functional medicine specialist Dr. Elroy Vojdani told Moneyish. “This everyday exposure, over long periods of time, leads to significant health issues like increased body fat, high blood pressure, heart disease and hormone imbalances.”
Finding support is essential to combat stress — which is why 74% of people have someone they can rely on for emotional support, and 57% say they spend time with family and friends to help manage their stress levels.
Dr. Vojdani also recommends immersing yourself in nature once a week. “Even in major urban environments like New York and Chicago, there are large parks within the city or access to wide open nature nearby,” he said. “Taking a break from the constant rush and excitement of the city and entering a clean, quiet and natural environment is something the Japanese call ‘forest bathing,’ and it’s been scientifically proven to improve overall health.”
And who’s more stressed than people in the public eye? Here are five ways that celebrities cope with stress.
The Facebook COO told USA Today that turning her phone off before bed is her go-to method of relaxation. She benefits from not being disturbed during the night, and acknowledges that getting a better night’s sleep makes it easier to deal with stressful situations the following day.
The news anchor Cooper reported on what it was like to try and achieve mindfulness in 2014. Giving up his cell phone while learning to meditate allowed Cooper to be more present and let go of stressful thoughts and re-focus on his breath, which was all documented by electrodes picking up signals from the part of his brain responsible for memory and emotion. “Recent evidence shows that a daily mindful meditation results in major physical changes in your brain,” Vojdani said, recommending the Headspace app’s guided meditation for newbies.
The reality star posted that she unwinds with a soothing beverage that includes L-Theanine, an amino acid found in tea that has a calming effect, plus chamomile and phosphatidylserine, which moderate the body’s reaction to stress. “One of my favorites is the Neuro Bliss flavor. With my busy schedule, it helps me stay focused and stress-free all day,” wrote Kardashian.
Business Insider reports that Bill Gates likes to read before bed, no matter how late it is, to help him unwind from the stress that comes with running a global business. Similarly, it’s been proven that powering down and writing to-do lists before bed can help you sleep better.
The Academy Award winning actress told Marie Claire that she relaxes by spending time with her family. “Sitting on the floor with the kids coloring for an hour, or going on the trampoline. You do something you love, that makes you happy, and that gives you your meditation,” she said.
The singer founded the mental health initiative, Be Vocal: Speak Up For Mental Health, and told Women’s Health Magazine that she exercises through her anxiety. “Painting, and writing music and expressing myself through art are other ways that I can release emotions. Meditation is another one. Whatever it is, it’s important to find what works for you,” said Lovato.
The “Frozen” star openly discussed her family history of anxiety and depression with Health.com, and spoke out about taking medication. “I still take it today and I have no shame in that, because my mom had said to me, ‘If you start to feel this way, talk to your doctor, talk to a psychologist, see how you want to help yourself,’” she said.
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