The Stress Epidemic
We currently live in a society that causes us to have incredibly stressful lives. I will get into the statistics and science behind stress later, but I am sure you don’t need to be a social scientist to see what is happening today. From the domination of social media in our lives to the 24/7 workloads, our lives have become more hectic than our bodies and minds are equipped to handle. When was the last time you got on an elevator and someone was not on their phone? When was the last time you didn’t feel the need to check your work email while away from the office? Have you gone on social media and felt some type of stress related to something you weren’t accomplishing in your life as compared to your friends?
The American Psychological Association and the American Institute of stress conducted a study in 2014 and the results paint a grand picture of a stressed-out society.
The Top Causes of Stress
1. Job Pressure
5. Poor Nutrition
6. Media Overload
7. Sleep Deprivation
You are probably not surprised that job pressure is the number one cause of stress. In fact, you're probably not even surprised that money is number two on the list. I found it interesting, but not surprising, that media overload made the list, due to the social media driven nature of our society today.
Social Media and StressSocial media is a fantastic development for our globally connected world. It has enabled me to build personal relationships with fantastic people all over the world. My non-profit mental health advocacy platform ConquerWorry.org™ and our podcast, “The ConquerWorry™ Show” would not have come into existence without the leverage created by social media.
According to Dr. Ethan Kross, founder of the Emotion & Self Control Laboratory at the University of Michigan, there is a direct connection between heavy social media usage and happiness. Professor Margaret Duffy of The University of Missouri’s School of Journalism reports that “Facebook can be a fun and healthy activity if users take advantage of the site to stay connected with family and old friends and to share interesting and important aspects of their lives. However, if Facebook is used to see how well an acquaintance is doing financially or how happy an old friend is in his relationship—things that cause envy among users—use of the site can lead to feelings of depression.” The BBC reports that social media can even lead to Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). As with most things in life, there are positives and negatives to social media. Personally, I am a big fan of building relationships through the power of social media. But it is absolutely imperative to make sure you use social media correctly in order to maintain your stress levels.
A Closer Look At The Numbers
The aforementioned study from The American Psychological Association and the American Institute of stress produced some interesting and telling statistics. The physical symptoms of stress are felt by 77% of us, while 73% of us experience the psychological symptoms of stress. Do you feel tired all the time? You are not alone! It is reported that 51% of us experience fatigue due to stress, and 30% carry muscle tension as well.
People who regularly experience the physical symptoms of stress: 77%
Upset stomach: 34%
Muscle tension: 30%
People who experience the psychological symptoms caused by stress: 73%
Irritability or anger: 50%
Feeling nervous: 45%
Lack of energy: 45%
Feeling as though you could cry: 35%
People who feel their stress has increased of the past five years: 48%
People who cite money and work as their leading cause of stress: 76%
Jay Coulter is an author, keynote speaker and mental health coach. He is the author of Conquer Worry - How To Build A Simple Daily System To Reduce Stress. He is also the founder of ConquerWorry.org™. The platform is a volunteer run organization dedicated to inspiring, educating and advocating for those who struggle with their mental health. ConquerWorry™ has almost 150,000 social media followers and we would love to have you in our community which can be found online and on most social media platforms.
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The ConquerWorry™ Podcast with Jay Coulter can be found on:
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 “Stress Statistics,” Last modified October 2015, http://www.statisticbrain.com/stress-statistics/
 “Daily Life Stress,” Last modified April 2016, http://www.stress.org/daily-life/
 University of Michigan Insititue for Social Research, Last modified September of 2013, http://home.isr.umich.edu/isrinnews/ethan-kross-2/
 “If Facebook Use Causes Envy, Depression Could Follow,” Last modified February 2015, http://munews.missouri.edu/news-releases/2015/0203-if-facebook-use-causes-envy-depression-could-follow/
 “Can Social Media Cause PTSD? Last modified May 2015, http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-32852043
 “Daily Life,” Last accessed April, 2015, http://www.stress.org/daily-life/
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