If you've been feeling overwhelmed or down since the election, you're not alone. A recent study conducted by the American Psychological Association reveals that — you guessed it — Trump is seriously stressing Americans out. In fact, the report said more than half of the country thinks the current political state of America is at "the lowest point in U.S. history."
Titled "Stress in America™: The State of Our Nation," the report highlights some eyebrow-raising points. Nearly 63 percent of the country, for example, is uniquely stressed about the future of the United States. And this observation was made by people of several different generations.
To maintain objectivity and presumably avoid being limited to an echo chamber, the APA report covered a range of people with different and opposing political views. Both liberals and conservatives were polled in the study, along with people of different generations, including those "who lived through World War II and Vietnam, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks." Yet in spite of ideological, gender, party-based, and generational differences, there was one theme that was consistent throughout the poll: stress. Americans are pretty anxious right now, according to the APA.
The association's chief executive officer, Arthur Evans Jr., said in a statement, “We’re seeing significant stress transcending party lines. The uncertainty and unpredictability tied to the future of our nation is affecting the health and well-being of many Americans in a way that feels unique to this period in recent history.”
Normally, common stress-inducers in such reports are related to money and employment. But APA's report shows that people are more worried about the future of the nation along the lines of health care, the economy, violence, foreign wars, and more. It's also worth noting that although Democrats make up the most stressed segment of the report at 73 percent, Republicans aren't in a cozy spot, either. About 56 percent of Republicans and 59 percent of independents feel the same tension about the state of the nation.
The present news cycle, too, apparently has an effect on the mental health of Americans. According to the APA report, Americans seem to be conflicted by whether they want to remain updated on current affairs or maintain a semblance of mental stability. At least 95 percent of the adults in the study said that they keep track of the news, but 56 percent trying to stay up-to-date in our present media landscape has stressed them out.
You might be thinking that being worried about the future isn't exactly an outstanding observation. After all, almost all of us worry. In the The Future and Its Enemies: In Defense of Political Daniel Innerarity offers a thoughtful view on why, as humans, we fret.
"Humans are unique in the realm of living beings in knowing there is a future," Innerarity wrote. "If people experience worry and hope, it is because they realize the future exists, that it can be better or worse, and that the outcome depends to some extent on them."
And if the nature of a people's future depends on them, including their leaders, it is understandable that some may not trust such appointees (including Trump, as polls show) to make the right choices.
With all of that said, don't let the APA report dampen your morale. There's some good news, too. Due to the present political condition of the United States, people feel inspired to take social initiatives to improve the state. At least 51 percent of the respondents said they feel compelled to do something while almost 60 percent said they've actually gone out to join protests and boycotts. It's not all that bad after all.