If you’re feeling anxious about the United States’ future, you’re not alone.
It’s actually the top stressor in the country — even more than money or work, according to the American Psychological Association’s annual Stress in America survey. A majority of Americans, 59 percent, also believe the country is in the lowest period they can ever remember, including respondents who lived through Pearl Harbor and World War II.
Sixty-three percent of respondents consider the future of the U.S. a source of stress, while 62 percent feel stressed about money and 61 percent about work. And as you might expect, 73 percent of Democrats are worried about the country’s future. But more conservative folks aren’t exactly at ease about America’s path either; 59 percent of Independents and 56 percent of Republicans said they’re stressed too.
“We’re seeing significant stress transcending party lines,” said Arthur C. Evans Jr., the American Psychological Association’s chief executive officer. “The uncertainty and unpredictability tied to the future of our nation is affecting the health and well-being of many Americans in a way that feels unique to this period in recent history.”
These elevated stress levels could be having a negative effect on people’s health. Lying awake at night during the previous month is up 5 percent from 2016 to 45 percent, and a third of Americans said stress is causing them to feel nervous, anxious, irritable, angry, or fatigued.
The survey, conducted in August, included 3,440 adults of varying ages and genders and from different racial and ethnic backgrounds. That data was then weighted to reflect respondents’ relative proportions of the U.S. population.
Unfortunately, a news overload might be part of the problem. Fifty-six percent of Americans surveyed said they want to stay informed about the news but doing so caused them stress.
“With 24-hour news networks and conversations with friends, family, and other connections on social media, it’s hard to avoid the constant stream of stress around issues of national concern,” Evans said.
It’s important to note that not every group is feeling more stressed than usual. White people’s 2017 stress levels remained the same as in 2016, while Hispanic’s average stress level went from 5.0 (on a 10-point scale) in 2016 to 5.2 this year, and black people’s average stress level went from 4.7 to 5.0.
The good news? At least it’s not just you. The bad news? Well, you’re surrounded by it all the time.