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Survey: Many Americans say stress interferes with daily life

Woman holding her hands up to her temples and looking down.

Nov. 10, 2022—Does daily life have you feeling frazzled? If so, you've got company, a recent American Psychological Association (APA) poll suggests. The APA released its annual Stress in America report, which surveyed U.S. adults. Among the key takeaways:

• 34% of adults say they're overwhelmed by stress most days.

• 27% of adults say they're too stressed to even function in their day-to-day lives.

• Around 20% of adults say their stress makes it hard to concentrate or remember things.

Americans also say their stress is affecting their health, with 76% of adults reporting at least one sign or symptom of too much stress, such as having headaches, feeling very tired or having trouble sleeping.

These findings help to paint a picture: Stress is a problem for a lot of us, and it can prevent us from feeling our best and being productive. That's not all. Too much stress can pose a problem to your health over time. It may even increase the risk of serious health problems, like a heart attack and depression. Learn more about the different ways stress can harm your body.

Stress-busting strategies

To help get a handle on any stress you're feeling, consider these five tips:

1. Make time each day to relax. Carve out a few minutes or more for activities you enjoy. For some people, that might mean listening to music, reading a book or working at a hobby.

2. Manage your workload. Too much on your plate? Decide what's most important and work on that. Perhaps the other tasks can wait. It also helps to break projects into smaller tasks.

3. Stay active. Exercising can help lift your mood and lower your stress. It helps your body release feel-good chemicals, called endorphins. Exercise also helps to relax tense muscles, which can be caused by stress. Aim for 150 minutes or more of moderate-level exercise each week. You might ride a bike, walk or kick a ball with your kids. Even a little exercise is better than none at all.

4. Breathe peacefully. When you feel stress coming on, find a quiet place where you can take slow, deep breaths. Focus on the feeling of your breath moving in and out. Box breathing can help ease stress.

5. Talk to someone you trust. Talking about your stress with friends or family can help you feel less stressed. They might be able to help you with any tasks that are stressing you out, if you ask.

Ask for help, if you need it

If you have too much stress, tell your doctor. Your doctor may suggest that you talk with a mental health counselor who can help you manage your stress.

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