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Biggest sources of stress for today's adults

  • Biggest sources of stress for today's adults

    On the surface of things, it would appear that Americans have never had it better. After all, things like food preparation, transportation, disease control and communication have never been more efficient. Yet as it turns out, Americans are generally more stressed out in the 21st century than they were decades ago, with women, young adults and low-income individuals experiencing the worst of it. Ultimately, however, there is no particular class, gender, group or ethnicity that doesn’t experience at least some form of significant stress in their lifetime.

    The truth is, between everything from personal struggles to political events outside of our control, there are no shortage of reasons to stress out these days. It’s therefore no wonder that anxiety disorders affect more than 40 million Americans over the age of 18 every year, or that 8.3 million Americans suffer from severe psychological stress. One might even go as far as to say the very things that are supposed to liberate uslike technology or broader access to informationcan instead have a negative mental effect, creating moments of stress that might not have otherwise existed.

    But what stresses us out the most? For the answer, Stacker consulted a Statista survey from February of 2017, which ranked the biggest sources of stress for today’s adults. Each respondent was provided with a list of 23 options (21 specific stress-inducing aspects of life as well as “Other” and “None of the Above”), and asked to highlight all the options that applied to him or her. If the respondent didn’t identify with any of the stress-inducing options, he or she would respond with “None of the Above”. The “biggest” sources of stress are those with which the greatest percentage of respondents identified. All 22 sources of stress (plus “None of the Above”) were then ranked from #23 to #1, with #1 being the most common instigator. Read the list at will, and don’t let it stress you out.

  • #23. Other

    Share of respondents who saw this as a source of stress: 2%

    In today’s fast-paced and overstimulated world, the list of potential stress triggers is essentially endless. Social media, for instance, is just one among many potential sources of stress that wasn’t mentioned in the survey. If only 2% of the respondents put “other”, it’s because the other 98% weren’t thinking hard enough.

  • #22. Travelling to work

    Share of respondents who saw this as a source of stress: 6%

    Not to be confused with travelling for work, travelling to work entails leaving the home every morning to arrive at one’s job in a timely fashion. Naturally, there are plenty of potential things to stress one out along the way, such as rushing out the door on time, catching the train or fighting traffic, finding parking, and getting to work on time. 

  • #21. Conflicts with colleagues/boss

    Share of respondents who saw this as a source of stress: 8%

    Whether it’s a difference in personalities or a dispute over job performances, no one wants to be on the bad side of a colleague or superior. Naturally, these conflicts are a relatable source of stress among today’s working adults. In fact, that’s practically why human resources departments exist in the first place. If anything, 8% seems quite low.

  • #20. Severe illness of a close person

    Share of respondents who saw this as a source of stress: 8%

    According to a 2012 CDC study, about 1 in every 2 adults suffers from one or more chronic health conditions. Therefore, the odds of someone close to you getting a severe illness remain quite high. As one might expect, dealing with that illness can take a serious toll on an individual’s own physical and mental health.

  • #19. Constant availability

    Share of respondents who saw this as a source of stress: 9%

    One of technology’s foremost benefits is that it connects us to one another with rapid precision at any and all hours of the day. Some people, however, consider that a hindrance, not a benefit, especially as it pertains to work. To help combat constant availability in New York, a new bill was recently proposed making it illegal to contact employees when those employees are off duty. However, the stress of constant availability isn’t just a work-related phenomenon--occasionally people just want time to themselves. Go figure.

  • #18. Fear of job loss

    Share of respondents who saw this as a source of stress: 9%

    In this crazy age of widespread automation and consolidation, it would seem that American jobs are constantly under siege. The good news is that the unemployment rate is currently quite low, meaning if someone loses his or her job, there’s probably an opportunity lying in wait. The bad news is that the social or economic climate can change on a daily basis, making fear of job loss a completely justifiable source of stress.

  • #17. Caring for family members in need of care

    Share of respondents who saw this as a source of stress: 11%

    One potential reason why low-income individuals experience higher levels of stress might very well be that they can’t afford to hire an extra hand when they need one. Such a disadvantage can become particularly nerve-wracking when there’s a family member in constant need of care. Of course, tending to a debilitated love one is a cause for stress regardless of socioeconomic status, not to mention a perennial source of emotional struggle.

  • #16. Time pressure at work

    Share of respondents who saw this as a source of stress: 11%

    Just the word “deadline” is enough to make some people cringe with anxiety. It’s therefore no surprise that 11% of the respondents felt that time pressure at work was a significant source of stress. After all, there is usually a ton of work to be done, and only so many hours in the workday.

  • #15. Navigating traffic

    Share of respondents who saw this as a source of stress: 11%

    People are moving to cities in droves, and while local infrastructure does its best to keep up, a subsequent boost in traffic density is more or less inevitable. As a result, dealing with gridlocked traffic becomes a significant and unhealthy source of stress. Nobody likes feeling boxed in or stagnant when they’re literally on the move.

  • #14. None of the above

    Share of respondents who saw none of the options as sources of stress: 11%

    As it turns out, 11% of the survey respondents are living care-free lives, unable to think of a single thing that increases their stress levels (there is that “Other” category to choose from after all). To which the rest of the world might ask: what’s your secret? Some will say it’s a daily exercise regiment. Others might say it’s quitting Facebook or disconnecting from the Internet for extended periods of time. The truth is, however, that those stress-free folks can say whatever they want, because no one really believes them anyway.