Well, it looks like kids in the United States aren’t the only ones experiencing anxiety at an all-time-high rate. According to a new survey of 1,000 American adults from the American Psychiatric Association, 39 percent are experiencing more anxiety than they were this time last year—and that number is staggeringly more than double the 19 percent of respondents who feel less anxious.
Furthermore, researchers found that 39 percent of respondents said they didn’t feel a difference in their anxiety levels since last year, and 3 percent weren’t sure. But those who did report being more anxious certainly had their reasons: While worries (particularly about safety) came in as the top factor for anxiety at 36 percent, financial fears came in close second, at 35 percent. After that was health, at 28 percent, followed by both the impact of politics on daily life and relationships with family, friends, and coworkers, at 20 percent each.
“Living in our current society with government instability, economic instability, media stress, insecurity of personal safety with current events, and often personal-life instability can be overwhelming and create great concern in one’s life that can often lead to feelings of anxiety.” —Bethany Kassar, clinical social worker
Researchers found females to be more anxious than men and people of color more anxious than caucasians, but it’s worth noting that the levels are up across the board. Basically, these feelings don’t discriminate: “Living in our current society with government instability, economic instability, media stress, insecurity of personal safety with current events, and often personal-life instability can be overwhelming and create great concern in one’s life that can often lead to feelings of anxiety,” says Bethany Kassar, clinical social worker and executive director of outpatient services at Summit Behavioral Health.
There are plenty of ways to reduce the effects of stress—including “taking a deep breath, maintaining a daily routine of a healthy diet and exercise, and talking with a person in your support system,” says Kassar—but tackling the anxiety-causing root of the problem head-on is also important. If you can, she suggests removing yourself from the situation that’s causing your anxiety in the first place, as well as not being afraid to seek professional help.
Figure out what’s making you feel the most anxious—whether it’s that pile of bills on your countertop or your job—and spend some time finding a way to decrease those specific worries. Hopefully with time, help, and coping strategies on your side, you’ll start feeling the sensation of chronic worry melt away.
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