NOTE: The following is an excerpt from TeleVox’s Healthy World report, “A Stressed Nation: Americans Search for a Healthy Balance”, which highlights the negative impact that stress is having on the health of Americans. Download it HERE!
Somewhere in the middle of America, Midwesterners are finding themselves caught in a web of stress. The region reports the highest stress levels on a daily basis out of any in the nation. But what is causing this stress? Midwesterners live a modest lifestyle. The Midwest is, and has always been, a predominantly blue-collar, working-class region. One of your neighbors may run a fifth-generation family business, while another has an alpaca farm in the backyard. Another, still, may be an executive at a Fortune 500 company.
The Midwest is also known as a great place for raising families and growing old. According to Forbes, four of the top ten cities to raise a family in are in the Midwest. With the variety of career paths and lifestyles of Midwesterners, it is no surprise that the region reported the biggest variety in the effects of stress. The American Psychology Association found that the Midwesterners report the highest numbers in the nation with regard to the following side effects of stress:
- Irritability (49 percent)
- Nervousness (47 percent)
- Lack of interest, motivation and energy (46 percent)
- Depression (44 percent)
- Feeling as though they could cry (41 percent)
Finding Ways to Manage Stress
Determining the best ways to manage this negative stress should be a key concern for residents in the Midwest — and, so far, they haven’t had much success. As A Stressed Nation: Americans Search for a Healthy Balance reported, Midwesterners make up the lowest percentage of Americans that would be interested in and/or happy to receive communications from their doctor with tips on how to manage stress. Oddly enough, the Midwest led all regions with 40 percent of the region already taking the step of discussing the impacts of stress on their health with their doctor.
How Providers Can Help
Healthcare providers across the Midwest can help to communicate positive ways to manage stress, since it can have many negative effects on health. As reported by A Stressed Nation, Midwesterners led the nation with 61 percent of the region saying that stress has negatively impacted their overall health. Stress can bring on a variety of feelings and emotions, both positive and negative. WebMD reports that stress is the body’s reaction to any change that requires a response and can have physical, mental, and emotional responses.
The bottom line is that Midwesterners need to communicate with healthcare providers more in order to ensure stress doesn’t negatively impact their health. According to A Stressed Nation, the Midwest led all regions in terms of reporting stress during a typical workday (71 percent.) In addition, the region edged out the Northeast by one percent, with 59 percent of the region reporting being stressed during everyday life. When acute stress — which is a normal, healthy stress and can have positive motivational benefits — isn’t managed efficiently, it can turn into something that is much more serious and becomes a daily problem.