Friday, February 8, 2013

Stress in the Midwest

The American Psychological Association recently released results from their annual Stress in America Survey. The following is an article from the APA related to those results:
Americans in the Midwest, on average, report lower levels of stress than people in other regions. The majority also say they are doing enough to manage their stress despite reporting that their stress levels have largely stayed the same this year. What’s more, they report fewer unhealthy behaviors as a result of stress.
More Midwesterners say that they are doing enough to manage their stress this year (62 percent in 2012 vs. 56 percent in 2011).
Stress Management: Midwest TrendEven still, average stress levels in the Midwest exceed what people living in the region define as a healthy level of stress (4.7 average stress level vs. 3.3 healthy stress level on a 10-point scale).
Midwesterners are more likely than other Americans to say that their stress has stayed the same over the past year (50 percent compared with 45 percent in the South and West and 42 percent in the East), but one-third (33 percent) still say their stress increased during that time frame.
Money (74 percent), work (65 percent) and the economy (65 percent) remain the most commonly reported sources of stress for Midwesterners.
When asked what they do to manage stress, Midwesterners most commonly report exercising or walking (51 percent), listening to music (50 percent) and spending time with friends or family (46 percent). Midwesterners are more likely than people living across the country to turn to friends and family for stress relief (46 percent vs. 39 percent nationally).
The number of Midwesterners who say they have lain awake at night or overeaten, eaten unhealthy foods or skipped a meal because of stress has declined in the past year.
  • Thirty-nine percent of people in the Midwest say they have lain awake at night due to stress (compared with 46 percent in 2011).
  • Thirty-seven percent say they have overeaten or eaten unhealthy foods because of stress (compared with 44 percent in 2011).
  • Twenty-four percent say they have skipped a meal because of stress (compared with 35 percent in 2011).
Despite their desire to live healthier lifestyles, many in the Midwest, on average, appear to be having difficulty reaching their healthy living goals. Midwesterners are also more likely than people in other regions to feel that a lack of willpower is preventing them from making these changes. They are, however, increasingly likely to recognize that psychologists can help with making lifestyle and behavior changes.