Stressed Out in America

For those of us in PR, stress is often a way of life – it comes with the job. Whether we work in-house or for an agency, we deal with organizational crises, we work on tight deadlines, and our profession is fast paced and continually changing and evolving.

But we aren’t alone. America as a whole is stressed out, and it continues to increase, according to Dr. Lynn Bufka, a clinical psychologist with the American Psychological Association (APA). As head of Van Eperen’s Health & Science Practice and someone who has been working in the health field for the past 15 years, this news does not come as a surprise.

Dr. Bufka recently spoke at a Washington Women in PR luncheon about the findings from APA’s Stress in America survey.  APA has been conducting its annual survey for the past 10 years and, interestingly, the main sources of our stress have remained fairly consistent: money, work, family responsibilities, and health concerns.

Some of the key findings from this year’s survey include:

  • Adults report fair or poor health due to stress
  • Women report higher levels of stress than men
  • Younger generations are increasingly stressed

So what’s a stressed-out professional to do? Dr. Bufka offered the following advice:

  • Recognize when you are stressed and the sources of your stress
  • Figure out how to manage stress and cope with it in healthy ways
  • Know when to reach out for support, whether it’s to a group of your peers or to a trained counselor

While it was a bit disheartening to hear how society is so stressed, I walked away from the luncheon feeling gratified by the work I do for my clients to promote the important work they do in the health field, ranging from improvements in cardiology treatments to quality care being given by hospitals across the country. And, in the end, that is one less thing to stress about.