top of page

Why Am I So Stressed?

Per an American Psychological Association 2022 survey on stress, 38% of Americans have considered moving to another country due to the current state of our nation. Worse yet, the majority of U.S. adults (62%) perceive the future of the country as bleak. On a more micro level, over a quarter of individuals (27%) report they are so stressed most days that they are unable to function. Younger adults (ages 18-34) report being completely overwhelmed by stress more than any other age range.

While these percentages are concerning, the impact is more deserving of our attention. Stress affects the mind and body in numerous ways, but we tend to dismiss stressors with a more insidious onset. We focus on how anxious we feel prior to an acute stressor (i.e., presentation at work/final exam in school), but ignore that we are entering most days at work/school with an unhelpful outlook. Stress impacts our musculoskeletal, respiratory, cardiovascular, endocrine, gastrointestinal, reproductive, and nervous systems. In order to address all of these issues, we must focus our attention on the nervous system. The brain governs the central nervous system. Yet, the impact of chronic stress on the nervous system is not as important as the continuous activation of the nervous system’s signals. Their continuous activation is informing the body of “constant threats,” instructing it to prepare/respond, and thus taxes the other bodily systems.

As highlighted before, many Americans are currently feeling stressed on a regular basis. If you’ve ever Googled “stress,” you’ve likely found your way to some “practical solutions.” The National Institute of Mental Health provides its own succinct fact sheet which lists valuable information on how we can differentiate stress from anxiety. The shorthand is as follows: stress is the physical or mental response to an external event while anxiety is the internal response (or interpretation of a possible stressor). The impact of stress is expected to alleviate once the stressor is gone (i.e., finishing a job presentation/course exam). Yet, anxiety can persist despite the absence of the stressor. At this point, it is our duty to assess how we are perceiving events if we intend to decrease our stress.

To relate this to the APA’s concerning statistics on stress, we are capable of decreasing the amount of stress in our lives. If we perceive the state of our nation/community/family as a stressor, it will persist and our own perceptions of safety, power, control, and autonomy will be impacted. However, we must also assess the accuracy of our beliefs. For example, watching the news for a few minutes reveals both marketing tactics and how susceptible we are to the information we consume. Spending our time watching the worst events that are actively occurring within our country informs the mind that there are stressors everywhere! Assessing how those events do (or do not) impact us, others, the world around us, and the future can increase or decrease the immediacy and persistence of that stressor. This is not an attack on watching the news; being informed of social, political, and other events is valuable! But, the work doesn’t stop there. Whether we are made aware of a dangerous event across the country does not change the occurrence of the event; but, if we treat the event as if it is ongoing and in our immediate vicinity we have now created a stressor to which our mind and body must respond. If we intend to decrease our stress, we must assess our understanding of the world around us and the impact of our own individual beliefs regarding it.

To test the functionality of this approach (which closely mirrors some of the components of CBT), choose a morning this week in which you can take five minutes to assess your day. In a quiet, calm environment, preview your day. What is ahead of you? What will you do in the first few minutes of the morning? Who will you talk to? What do you hope to achieve? Where might you encounter obstacles? How are you prepared and in which areas might you be underprepared? Have you encountered these events before? Have you demonstrated proficiency in succeeding during other similar days?

Your answers to these questions reveal how you are incorporating stress into your daily life. Before we can ask you to “have a better outlook on life,” we must first understand your outlook. If you are finding yourself stressed, Roswell Psychology is here for support; please reach out today for a complimentary consultation.

35 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page