On just about every front, things aren’t panning out the way most Americans planned. Inflation is skyrocketing, gas prices are soaring, global uncertainty is dominating headlines amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. All of this has pushed a majority of Americans to unprecedented levels of stress.
The newly released “Stress in America” survey by the American Psychological Association shows Americans — already besieged by stress over the lingering COVID-19 pandemic — are facing profound strain over a host of issues.
According to the data, compiled after the APA surveyed 3,012 U.S. adults between Feb. 7-14, 87% of respondents cited rising costs of everyday items, including gas and groceries, as a “significant source of stress.” The same percentage said their mental health has been greatly impacted by “a constant stream of crises over the last two years.”
Eighty-four percent said the unfolding war between Russia and Ukraine is “terrifying to watch.”
Dr. Lynn Bufka, a clinical psychologist and the associate chief for practice transformation at the APA, told NBC News the unprecedented stress levels shared by so many Americans is “startling,” noting it’s concerning to see Americans overwhelmed by the same political and social issues.
“We don’t usually see 80% of people telling us that a particular stressor is stressful for that many individuals,” she explained to the outlet.
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In light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the APA conducted a second round of polling from March 1-3, surveying 2,051 U.S. adults. Eighty percent of those respondents said they are fearful of potential retaliation from Russia, either through cyberattacks or nuclear threats. Additionally, 69% admitted they are “worried the invasion of Ukraine is going to lead to nuclear war, and that they fear that we are at the beginning stages of World War III.”
Furthermore, more than one-in-five Americans (23%) said they have tried to cope with the pandemic by drinking more alcohol, consuming an average of 10 drinks per week compared to an average of two drinks in the same time span for those who didn’t report imbibing more.
Among those most stressed by the litany of issues plaguing the world are parents.
More than 70% said they are concerned the pandemic — and its associated government restrictions — has had a significant negative impact on their kids’ social, academic, and emotional development. And 68% said they fear their children’s physical health and development has been hampered by the COVID-19 crisis. The same percentage said they have been overwhelmed “trying to keep up with the rules and regulations” put in place by the government.
There is no doubt there is a laundry list of problems to worry about. As Christians, though, we ought to find hope in the fact that we worship a God who is intimately involved in our daily lives and who is sovereign, not caught off guard by anything happening in the world today.
In Hebrews 4:16, Christians are told to “approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need” (CSB). We can take our stress, anxiety, and fear to God in prayer.
Here are a few Bible passages to keep in mind as you cope with these issues and more:
“I sought the Lord, and He answered me and rescued me from all my fears.” — Psalm 34:4 (CSB)
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take up my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” — Matthew 11:28-30 (CSB)
“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” — Romans 8:38-39 (CSB)
“Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” — Philippians 4:6-7 (CSB)
“There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. So the one who fears is not complete in love.” — 1 John 4:18 (CSB)
In Matthew 6:25-26, Jesus told His disciples: “Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing” (CSB)?
“Consider the birds of the sky,” He continued. “They don’t sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they?”
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