In 2015, according to an annual survey commissioned by the American Psychological Association (APA), the general level of stress for most American adults increased from the year before. In the survey, conducted by the Harris Poll, respondents reporting extreme levels of stress also rose.
But with the bad news comes some good.
“People are still reporting more stress than is ideal, but they’re trying to manage it,” said Lynn F. Bufka, Ph.D., APA’s assistant executive director. “There is a greater recognition that one can be proactive in handling stress.”
The survey found that millennials and Generation X’ers both reported more stress than baby boomers and those over 70 years old, whom the survey calls “matures.” Bufka noted that older Americans have learned to handle stress through life experience.
For millennials, finding their footing in the world is hard, according to Mariel Diaz, LCSW, a psychotherapist at Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital. She is the founder of Encinitas’ Illuminated Flame, which integrates Western psychology with Eastern healing techniques.
“Teens experience a lot of stress as they move into independence,” she said. “I see teens increasingly worried about the cost of college, particularly if their families can’t help them. San Diego is not a cheap town to live in. They’re stressed about getting out on their own.”