If you’re feeling stressed out or like you don’t have enough time, you’re definitely not alone. The APA’s annual Stress in America report shows that stress levels are on the rise, with 35 percent of Americans saying they’ve experienced more stress in the past year.

The findings of the survey state that stress levels are higher amongst women in general when compared to men, with Millenials taking the top spot as the “most stressed out generation.” Consequently, this means young women are typically harder hit emotionally by stress.

Why are we leading such stressed and busy lives?

1. Stress Is a Status Symbol.

The mentality of “hard work pays off” has always been prominent in America, but now being stressed has become a status symbol. Being constantly busy does not mean you’re productive, yet we act as it does. We delude ourselves into thinking that the more hours we put in, the better we are doing. This way of thinking generates an environment where having a lot to do makes us feel significant and accomplished. Therefore, we American tend to show off how busy we are and consider ourselves more productive if we complete more items on our To-Do Lists. In a sense, taking some time for leisure activities is often considered laziness. It appears that stress has become the most recent sign of wealth in America.

2. Everyone Else Is Doing It.

We spend so much time being stressed that we don’t have time to talk about how stressed we are. Women often connect by sharing tales of their chaotic lives. Television, movies, and social media validate these conversations about stress and make it seem like the popular thing to do. It’s easy to fall into the trap of one-upping each other with tales of our packed schedules, but these types of conversations are more competitive than cathartic. No matter how much we do in a day, it can still feel like we’re not keeping up with other superwomen.

3. How Do We Stop?

Please slow down and de-stress before you crash. As recommended by psychologist Stephanie Smith, try the following:

Only use coping strategies that won’t have a negative effect on your health in the long term.

Unhealthy coping mechanisms like smoking cigarettes or binge eating unhealthy snacks might make you feel better in the short term, but they will only cause more problems down the line. Be Aware of any unhealthy habits you have and take steps to change them.

Find an activity that relaxes you, so you have a go-to coping mechanism for when work stresses you out.

Get some fresh air with a 15-minute walk, do some Yoga stretches, run, or call a close friend once a week–do whatever works best for de-stressing YOU.

According to the APA report, only 32% of Americans feel it is important to speak with their healthcare providers about stress management, though it is imperative you contact your doctor before things get out of hand.

Do have any successful coping strategies for de-stressing? Share them with us in the comments!

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