In rereading the American Psychological Association’s most recent report of Stress in America, I find myself increasingly mindful of the toll that stress is taking on the collective psyche of our country.
The sources of our stress seem omnipresent, bombarding us from all directions. And, for so many of us, stress is gnawing away at our general well-being, taking aim at our sleep patterns, sending our nervous systems into hyperdrive, and eroding our sense of optimism.
While personal issues—concerns about health, finances and family—have always topped our list of worries, the impact of our chaotic and brutally divisive political environment has ratcheted our stress-ometers up more than a notch or two. More than half of Americans have said they consider this the lowest point in American history in their lives; this includes men and women who lived through World War II, the Cuban Missile Crisis and September 11.
At The Chicago School, we understand that none of us can change the arc of history—or prevent the unsettling events that keep us awake at night—single handedly. But we urge everyone in our community, including our students, faculty and clients, to make lifestyle choices that can help them cope with stress: physical activity, practicing mindfulness, listening to music and spending face-to-face time with family friends—these are coping mechanisms that work for many.
Remember, life is short. Let’s each do our part to make it the best we can, for ourselves and for those around us.