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Stressing as a Nation.

AMERICANS are more afraid of global terrorism than being killed by a gun (68% vs. 35%). They are more stressed out by the melting ice caps than by their demanding boss (64% vs. 42%), and they are more anxious about bigotry, racism, sexism, and xenophobia than their own marriage (66% vs. 33%).

Holistic wellness service Grokker teamed up with SurveyMonkey to examine what most stresses Americans. Here are the results:

Declining mental health. Some 96% of Americans experienced at least one physical symptom associated with stress since the 2016 presidential election. More than half of all respondents had clear signs of mental strain closely associated with stress, with 53% reporting feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or nervous; 45% felt depressed, a potentially serious mental health concern.

Global issues cause concern. The top three concerns stressing Americans today are global stability, terrorism, and the increasingly polarized political climate. Seventy-three percent of citizens actively are stressed about the fragile stability of global nations and 68% are worried about terrorism and the current political climate.

While the common prescription for combating stress is to manage personal worries--such as relationship, financial, or job stress--the survey reveals that it really is global, geopolitical, and environmental issues keeping Americans up at night. Focusing on your relationship with your girlfriend is not going to stop the polar ice caps from melting.

Pres. Donald Trump, political polarization, and the future of the country. No matter their gender, age, region, or political party, Americans are stressed out by the increasingly polarized political climate. In fact, 73% of Americans say they are worried about the future of the country. Sixty-two percent of respondents say they are "somewhat or very stressed" by Pres. Trump's leadership. The traditionally liberal hotbeds of New England and the West Coast are the most concerned about Trump's leadership, with 51% reporting it makes them "very stressed."

Stressed-out millennials. Millennials report the highest base stress levels of any age group, with 80% feeling stressed and 60% saying their current stress level is impacting their overall happiness negatively. In addition to other global concerns, millennials are pointing to the environment as a top stressor on their list of worries: 72% say it was a personal stress factor and 41% indicate fears of global warming make them feel "very stressed."

For millennials, misery loves company. More than any other age group, millennials crave social interactions when they are stressed: 40% go out with friends when stressed versus 18% of baby boomers, and 68% of millennials will choose talk therapy with a friend or loved one versus 53% of boomers.

Women are more stressed than men. On every single survey question, women consistently rated higher stress levels than men. Women lack confidence in their future and their health: 60% of females are worried about their personal future compared to 47% of males.

Women not only are more stressed about current health difficulties (53% vs. 41% for men), they are more afraid of developing future health problems, such as diabetes, cancer, or Alzheimer's (51% vs. 39%). In addition, women are experiencing more physical and psychological symptoms. In particular, 54% of women experienced depression in the last six months versus 36% of men.

DIY stress reduction. This overwhelming atmosphere is spurring Americans' increased obsession with personal wellness care. Sixty percent reported using some type of stress management technique in the last six months, and professional counseling was the least-popular choice (15%). Instead, individuals turn conversations with friends and family into talk therapy sessions. At 58%, talking with loved ones was the most-popular way to reduce stress. Americans also like to exercise (54%) and channel their inner zen with deep breathing (53%).

Not surprisingly, men and women differ in how they deal with stress: Men want to sweat it out and women want to talk it out. The most-popular way for men to reduce stress is to exercise (56%) while women will choose talk therapy with a friend or loved one (68%).

Lorna Borenstein is founder and CEO of Grokker, San Jose, Calif.
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Title Annotation:ON THE COUCH
Author:Borenstein, Lorna
Publication:USA Today (Magazine)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2018
Next Article:The Lessons of Statesmanship.

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