The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation just released a wide-ranging survey on the prevalence and causes of stress in the U.S. Overall, 86 percent of Americans say they’ve been stressed out in the past month, with 26 percent saying they’ve experienced a great deal of stress.
When it comes to major stressful life events, health-related issues top the list:
More than 4 in 10 respondents who said they experienced a major stressful event in the past year cited health concerns as the primary stressor.
But the survey also asked about smaller, daily stressors — the little exasperations that can add up to a miserable day.
And here something surprising emerges:
Americans cited “hearing about what the government or politicians are doing” as the most frequent daily stressor on their lives, and at a substantially higher rate than the usual annoyances like commuting, chores and general schedule juggling.
We’re saturated with 24-hour news coverage of our government and politicians, many of whom we have extremely negative feelings toward.
So it’s natural that when they show up on our TV screens — which we’re glued to about three hours a day — we experience a range of negative emotions. Frustration, anger, even stress. And since high stress is linked to shorter life expectancy, they are also literally killing us with their incompetence.
In other words, thanks, President Obama (and everyone in Congress too).