If America's current political climate has been stressing you out lately, you're definitely not alone. According to a new survey from the American Psychological Association, America's stress levels are at an all-time high — and politics are largely to blame.
The most recent "Stress in America" survey, which was conducted by Harris Poll in January 2017, reports that 57 percent of Americans find the current political climate to be "a very or somewhat significant source of stress." Furthermore, 49 percent of participants reported they felt anxious about the election's outcome, and 66 percent reported they were extremely stressed about the future of the nation. The survey — which included 1,019 Americans who were surveyed from January 5 to January 19 — also reports that "Americans' overall average reported stress level rose from 4.8 to 5.1 on a 10-point scale" between August of last year and January of this year.
Of course, the data does diverge a bit between political parties: Although 72 percent of Democrats have found the results of the election to be a "significant source of stress," only 26 percent of Republicans agreed. Meanwhile, the numbers were slightly closer when it came to stressing over America's future, with 76 percent of Democrats again reporting it was a "significant source of stress" and 59 percent of Republicans agreeing.
The survey also found an increase in Americans reporting significant stress about their personal safety — from 29 percent to 34 percent since August, which is the highest its been since the question was first included in the study. Stress regarding acts of terrorism also increased from 51 to 59 percent, and stress regarding police violence toward minorities rose from 36 percent to 44 percent. Money, work, and the economy also remained major sources of stress across the board.
It's worth noting that, prior to the election, Americans' stress level was on the decline — and in the 10 years since they've been conducting the survey, the APA has never before seen such a significant increase in stress.
"We know that chronic stress can take a toll on a person's health," APA Executive Director for Professional Practice Katherine C. Nordal, PhD, wrote in the report. "It can make existing health problems worse and even cause disease, either because of changes in the body or bad habits people develop to cope with stress. The bottom line is that stress can lead to real physical and emotional health consequences."
You can find the rest of the survey results here.