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!
Much like the Northeast, the stress levels of the West can easily be described in two distinct ways: there is the laid back, stress-free surfing crowd, juxtaposed with the career-driven work force. And then there are those in between, who have characteristics of both sides. Finding a middle ground between both of these lifestyles can create stress in and of itself.
However, many Westerners do feel they are managing their stress levels successfully, and that stress isn’t negatively affecting their overall health. In fact, the American Psychological Association reports that 75 percent of the Westerners say they are satisfied with their health – more than any other region. By finding ways to manage stress — including talking with healthcare providers and maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise — Westerners can keep their stress levels low and their bodies healthy.
Diet and exercise both play into creating and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Putting the right foods into your body and finding time to exercise can also help to lower negative stress. As reported by A Stressed Nation: Americans Search for a Healthy Balance, Westerners reported the lowest percentage (49 percent) that said stress has had a negative impact on their overall health. This means Westerners are doing something right. According to the APA, 24 percent of adults in the West engage in strenuous physical activity at least once a day, significantly more than any other region.
Opportunities for Improvement
Talking with healthcare providers, however, remains one area Westerners need to improve on. Just 30 percent of Westerners have taken the step of discussing the negative impact of stress on their health with their doctor, while just 57 percent of the region (also the lowest of the four regions) said they would be interested in and/or happy to receive communications from their doctor with tips on how to manage stress. The region wants to do things its own way, but this approach isn’t working for those who said that stress is negatively impacting their health. Rather, listening to the advice of healthcare providers would be a much better option.
But what does the region need in order to effectively manage its stress? According to A Stressed Nation, 35 percent of Westerners reported they feel somewhat or very stressed at the current moment. This can result in negative health effects in the form of irritability, headaches, depression or a change in sex drive. More than half of Westerners, 53 percent, reported being stressed during everyday life, yet 47 percent said they would be more likely to ignore stress or treat a symptom than manage the problem.
Taking the First Step
The good thing for the West region is that there is a whole host of ways to manage stress. A good first step is talking with a healthcare provider. Healthcare providers can provide a range of personalized tips on how to manage stress, ranging from meditation to exercise. All of these options can help Westerners manage their stress before it reaches an unhealthy level.