How stressed do you feel? What do you do about it when you feel it? And how do you compare with other adults your age across the nation? A new study released earlier this week seeks to provide some data to answer some of those questions.
On February 7, the American Psychological Association released annual results of their large-scale stress study, Stress in America. The annual study has been ongoing since 2007, tracking ratings of stress across genders, locations, and age groups and evaluating different strategies American adults use to manage stress.
Looking at the study results overall, total ratings of stress appeared to be on the decline over the past year, but 39% of young adults say that their stress has increased over the past year. Young adults in their 20s and 30s are also less likely to manage their stress well than their older counterparts.
Here in the Los Angeles area, stress levels appeared to be about the same as the average across the nation. While local adults feel that stress management is important, most do not feel that they are reaching their stress management goals.
Interestingly, Los Angeles adults tend to report some good use of stress management techniques, such as listening to music, watching TV, reading, playing video games, etc. However, while about half think that psychologists and other professionals can be helpful, only about a third of adults think that a psychologist can help them make any lasting changes in their behavior.
While we Los Angeles adults seem pretty aware of stress, the consequences of stress, and ways to help manage the stress, it seems that many are missing out on a potentially valuable resource for managing stress – therapy. At times there seems to be a stigma about therapy – that it’s only for those with significant mental or emotional problems. In reality, therapy has something to offer for many – even those who are just looking to better manage their stress on a regular basis.
Therapy can be a wonderful tool for helping you evaluate your goals, measure your progress toward your goals, and understand and eliminate whatever is blocking you from achieving your goals. The process of unloading your frustrations with a neutral person can also help reduce stress and improve feelings of well-being just by itself.
So, next time you are thinking about changing your methods for managing stress – think about therapy and what benefits it may bring to the process.