Finances got you feeling stressed? According to a new survey conducted by the American Psychological Association, you’re not alone. The recently released Stress in America survey found that nearly three-quarters of Americans felt stressed about money during the past month.
The survey, which was conducted in August 2014, included over 3,000 Americans. For 64 percent of participants, money was “a somewhat or very significant source of stress.” Stress levels were found to be particularly high among parents, younger folks, and low-income households.
“This year’s survey continues to reinforce the idea that we are living with a level of stress that we consider too high,” Dr. Norman B. Anderson, CEO and executive vice president of the American Psychological Association, says in a statement.
Perhaps the most troubling finding was that, for some, financial concerns directly impact overall health. For example, 12 percent of survey participants said they’d skipped going to the doctor for medical care because of money worries. These effects reach far past health. According to the survey, over 30 percent of respondents who were in a relationship recognized money as a serious source of conflict with their partner.
But the results weren’t all grim. Compared to data from the 2007 Stress in America survey, Americans seem to be slightly less stressed overall. On a 10-point scale, the APA reports that the average stress level is 4.9. (In 2007, it was 6.2.) A key factor in managing stress comes back to having an emotional support system, the APA says.
Managing individual stress levels is important for a number of reasons. If left unchecked, stress can lead to everything from heart disease, to digestive problems, to depression. Regular exercise, seeking support from friends and family, and relaxation techniques like yoga and meditation can all help improve chronic stress. Identifying what your stressors actually are can also be empowering.