Survey says stress continues to grow

POSTED: Thursday, January 19, 2012 - 3:19pm
UPDATED: Friday, April 13, 2012 - 9:54am

WACO -- The annual American Psychological Association stress survey was released,and the outcome? Not good.

Americans are still reporting high levels of stress and 22 percent are saying they have extreme stress which is between 8 and 10 on a 10 point stress scale.

Nearly 45 percent of Americans say their stress has increased over the past 5 years.

But one positive, the average stress level has dipped from 5.4 in 2010 to 5.2 in 2011.

But while stress becomes greater, the belief that stress causes physical health problems lessens and 30 percent believe it has no outcome on their health at all.

When in reality:

"Stress does effect physical and emotional healthy and research has shown that there's a lot of physical problems that have a link to stress such as high blood pressure, irritable bowel syndrome, pain disorders, migraine headaches, just to name a few," Dr. Julia Becker, a clinical psychologist said.

The disconnect between stress and health is what causes the most concern for psychologists. But 80 percent of people have what's called an "optimism bias" where they think negative effects of poor stress management won't effect them.

"Being optimistic is a good way of coping, and that's what allows them to be calm and happy," Dr. Becker said. 

But the best ways to combat stress?

"Daily exercise is great, that's been shown to reduce stress and depression. Also, using deep breathing techniques, meditation is very effective for stress and yoga," she said.

But doctors recommend if you're suffering from high stress, it's important to seek counseling and professional help.

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