NEW YORK — Anxiety has always been an uncomfortable fact of life. Even the calmest of individuals experience the occasional nervous moment, but is anxiety on the rise in modern society? According to a new survey of 2,000 Americans, the answer is a resounding yes. A shocking one in five respondents say they feel anxious so often that they actually believe they are dealing with an undiagnosed anxiety disorder.
The survey, put together by CBD company Endoca, polled Americans on their day-to-day anxious feelings and discovered that the average American experiences five anxious moments every day.
Interestingly, these anxious moments often lead to feelings of self-consciousness as well; 43% of respondents say they’ve been overwhelmed by their anxiety, which then causes them to feel embarrassed. In fact, almost three quarters of respondents say they are embarrassed after every single anxious moment.
These statistics shine a revealing light on just how far we as a nation have to go to remove the stigma from mental health problems and negative feelings. Among respondents who admit to feeling embarrassed by their anxiety, 58% say it is because they believe they should be a stronger person, and another 53% say they feel isolated and different from their peers.
So, what are Americans’ biggest anxiety triggers? Work was listed as the number one source of anxiety among respondents, with just under half listing it as their most frequent trigger. That’s followed by social events or going out (47%), financial worries (45%), and romantic relationship issues (40%).
“From social anxiety to panic attacks, mental health in America is a very real issue,” says Henry Vincenty, CEO of Endoca, in a statement. “Our research highlights that sadly there is still social stigma surrounding mental health issues as millions of Americans refuse to seek treatment because they feel embarrassed. More often than not, this anxiety is stimulated by the churning of everyday anxiety-inducers that can have lasting effects.”
Social media is contributing significantly to this rise in anxious Americans as well, with 35% of respondents listing Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as major sources of their day-to-day anxiety. When asked why social media is stressing them out so much, respondents said the pressure to be “perfect” is often too much to handle, as well as the belief that they need to portray themselves as successful and funny online.
Furthermore, 72% of respondents say that comparing their lives to other people on social media makes them feel inadequate and unsuccessful.
All of that anxiety is bound to take a physical toll, and a whopping nine in ten Americans say they are losing sleep due to their anxiety. The average respondent reports losing two hours of sleep per night, which comes out to 730 hours, or one month of sleep, per year.
While it is clear that our culture’s approach to anxiety isn’t where it needs to be, eight in 10 respondents say they believe anxiety is more socially acceptable today that it was in the past.
As far as coping strategies to relieve stress, over half of respondents listed exercise as their number one anxiety-reducer, followed by watching TV or a movie, and meditation.
The survey was conducted by OnePoll.