Political climate, nation's future is stressing out Americans, study says

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According to the study, 57% say the current political climate is "a very or somewhat significant source of stress" and 45% say the same about the election.

What's more, fully two-thirds (66 percent) say that the future of the nation is a significant source of stress. While some believed anxiety levels would decrease after the election, once the campaigning wound down, it seems to be steadily moving in the opposite direction. The survey - which included 1,019 Americans surveyed from Jan. 5 to Jan. 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.

In the annual survey conducted in August, the APA officials added questions concerning politics because many specialists reported election-related stress among Americans. During and after the election, majority also cited politics as a major stress factor.

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"The stress we're seeing around political issues is deeply concerning, because it's hard for Americans to get away from it", said Katherine C. Nordal, APA's executive director for professional practice.

However, as the election took center stage in the spring of 2016, APA's member psychologists began reporting that their patients were increasingly concerned and anxious about the political climate.

The January survey found that the percentage of Americans reporting that acts of terrorism were a source of stress rose from 51 to 59 percent from a few months earlier.

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City dwellers, at more than 60 percent, are about twice as stressed out as Americans in rural areas as a result of the election, while the millennial age group shows the highest stress level of any generation in the survey, at more than 55 percent. In January, 80 percent had symptoms such as tension headaches or feeling overwhelmed or depressed.

Wright suggests the best way to ease stress related to what's happening in Washington is to disentangle yourself from the minute-by-minute deluge of negative news. Of Americans with some level of education beyond high school, 53 percent say that the election results cause them significant stress.

You can read the rest of the survey right here.

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Chronic stress can lead to a higher risk of heart disease, depression, and cancer. It's a vicious cycle that people need to actively remove themselves from, she said. "People think, if I choose to cope or do something for myself, I'm saying what's happening isn't a big deal".

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