Stress Still High in Adults and Kids
The American Psychological Association’s (APA) 2009 Stress in America Study came out this week. This year’s study included findings from adults and for the first time youth ages 8 to 17.
Stress is still on the rise with nearly 42% of adults reporting an increase in stress over the past year. Nearly 75% of adults are experiencing high (24%) to moderate stress levels.
And women seem to suffer from stress related symptoms more than men.
For adults, the top 3 physical stress responses: Trouble sleeping (47%), irritability or anger (45%), fatigue (43%)
It’s not just the adults who are experiencing increased stress levels.
Youth ages 8 to 17 also reported increased worry and stress this year. And their parents don’t seem to realize how much stress and worry these teens are experiencing.
2 to 5% of parents rate their child’s stress as extreme (or 8, 9, 10 on a 1 to 10 scale) compared to 14% of tweens (ages 8 to 12) and 24% of teens (13 to 17).
Even at this young age, kids are experiencing physical symptoms with 45% reporting trouble sleeping, 36% reporting stress related headaches, 34% reporting eating too much or too little in response to stress.
The real kicker in all of this: how easy stress is to ignore. Many study participants claim they are too stressed to manage their stress.
Stress is a matter of your health. And when stress is not managed it becomes chronic. Chronic stress leads to illness and illness is time consuming and costly.
Got 5 or 10 minutes?
When I present stress management workshops that’s what I ask people – do you have 5 or 10 minutes for stress relief activities. If you don’t, I can’t help you. If you’re ready to “find” 5 or 10 minutes during the day for stress relief, keep reading. Below I’ve listed 5 of my “old stand-by’s” when it comes to stress management. They aren’t new and chances are you’ve heard them before. But they work and a refresher never hurt anyone. Remember to always start where you are, take baby steps and consider the following a starting point.
- Admit You’re Stressed! Stop ignoring it and acknowledge it. “I’m stressed!” This can help with any irritability or anger.
- Take a Deep Breath. Deep breaths won’t solve all of your problems. But they will slow you down and allow you to think about an appropriate reaction for a favorable outcome.
- Take a walk. Whether up and down your street or up and down the hallway, take time to move your body.
- Reach out and connect with friends and family. Share a hug, a smile, some laughter, some good times!
- Write it down. Grab a pen and notebook and get your thoughts out of your head and out on paper. Remember, no one ever has to see it.
Managing stress isn’t about giving up your fast paced lifestyle, it’s about allowing yourself some time to refuel your engine in order to keep going. Start where you are, make it a family affair, become a role model to your kids, and help them manage their stress, too.
LIVE IN THE CHICAGO AREA AND NEED SOME STRESS RELIEF?
Check out Katie West’s The Levity Project on November 7 in Chicago. At 12pm CT, she is asking to join her for a few minutes of laughter! Not in Chicago? No problem, laugh from home, video tape it and send it to her. Katie is taking laughter and levity nationwide. Learn more about her and her project at www.thelevityproject.com. I’ll laugh tomorrow at 12pm CT…laughing always makes my stress go away.