Georgia Among Top 10 Most Stressed States in America

Stress in America soared to record levels in 2017, with much of the brunt borne by southeastern states, such as Georgia. The Peach State ranked as the eighth most stressed state in the nation, with several crucial issues contributing to that score.

According to the January 2017 American Psychological Association’s (APA) Stress in America™ survey, the annual poll showed that a historic number of Americans were feeling stressed out. While in previous polls, top stressors were money, work and the economy, in the past year, politics also played a part, leaving 70 percent of Americans feeling unable to cope.

Georgia’s Skyrocketing Stress Levels

Using data from the U.S. Census, Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a study was conducted by Wallethub. It evaluated four key stressor areas, family issues, health and safety, work and money, and then ranked each state-by-state.

Georgia now averages as the eighth highest state for generalized stress, third highest for family stress and ninth highest for work-related stress. Neighboring Alabama hit the top spot for overall stress, and close neighbor, Kentucky, was at nine on the overall ranking.

The southeastern belt, flashing as red on Wallethubs’s poll, shows not just stress levels, but also an inability to deal with that stress – a management skill that is rarely taught in schools.

What Is Stress, Really?

Stress occurs when a person feels they have too much to cope with – and they often feel the issues they face are out of their control. Stress can represent a sense of disempowerment, which seems to be prevalent in the southeastern states.

Intense stress can cause physical problems, such as head pain, chest pain and trouble sleeping. According to the APA, in their last poll, 80 percent of survey respondents reported at least one health symptom because of stress.

Self-Medicating for Stress

Unfortunately, family-related stressors can be one of the largest reasons that a person turns to alcohol to cope. These can include divorce or other reasons for a family member being absent. When stressors are more keenly felt, the more likely it is that people will use alcohol as self-medication.

Despite alcohol seeming like an easy way to let go of worries, using a drink to combat stress usually causes even more problems than the initial stressors.

Drinking merely exacerbates the problem, as alcohol keeps the body in a stressed state (alcohol is a depressant). This can cause further problems, such as mood swings, stomach and chest problems, headache, low self-esteem and depression.

And, of course, alcohol dependence and addiction can become issues, which can lead to even most problems.

How to Deal with Stress in a Healthy Way

Stress is only the body’s reaction to feeling threat. There are ways to minimize it. If you can’t avoid stress entirely, there are things you can do to offset that blood-boiling feeling.

Walking: It sounds so simple, but don’t underestimate the power of a good walk. Often observing the sky can give you perspective and make you far less anxious. And moving your body is known to help shift your thoughts. So if you are feeling stressed or gloomy, get moving to help.

Do a (secret) favor: Helping others is highly-rated as a great gateway to releasing feel-good hormones, such as endorphins. But, even better, what if you could secretly help someone you didn’t even know? This has been shown to boost to feel-good chemicals even more.

Gratitude: Making a daily list of things for which you are truly grateful can help to stop the stressful blame game in your head. Notice all the things along the way, from the flowers in the garden to the roof over your head.

Appreciate nature: If you have work-related stress, do not skip your lunch break. Find the nearest park and enjoy your lunch there. Nature is an especially good way to just pause and take in the world. If there isn’t a park near to work, leave the office anyway. A new environment will help you be less tense and relax.

Meditation practice: This has been proven to reduce the actual stress-related response, replacing it with more positive emotions, such as acceptance. There have been various studies on mediators, showing that regular meditators enjoyed reduced blood pressure and reported greater well-being.

Finding Peace and Healing at Talbott

If you feel you are already on the brink of burnout or are needing help for addiction, Talbott, which has several locations in Georgia, might be your answer.

Rather than trying to cope alone, Talbott has comprehensive, integrated programs and caring staff members to assist you. There are programs to help adults and young adults – and there is even a specialized program for professionals who have highly stressful and demanding jobs, such as pilots and nurses.

Talbott offers a choice of safe, residential care as well day and evening outpatient programs to fit your schedule. All its centers are set in gorgeous, peaceful surroundings, allowing you de-stress with compassionate staff, while you lay the foundation for a new healthy life in recovery.

By Beth Burgess

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