Health most common major stressful event for Americans

This probably doesn't come as a big surprise, but a lot of Americans say they're stressed out. A new NPR/Robert Wood Johnson Foundation/Harvard School of Public Health poll reported 49 percent of Americans say they’ve undergone a major stressful event in the past year. Nearly half of them said it was related to health.

For people who experienced a stressful health event, 38 percent said it was their own health and 37 percent said it was the health of a family member. Other major stress factors included too many responsibilities and financial problems. Researchers pointed out that having people realize the frequency and causes of stress is a key step toward making changes in their lives that help reduce it.

People who are ill reported double the amount of stress in the past month. Other groups more likely to report stress included disabled people, people with chronic illness and single parents.

The poll reflected how much stress affects people’s emotional well-being, sleep and decision-making or concentration. Some steps people reported taking to help handle their stress included spending more time outdoors, taking up a hobby, socializing with friends and family, prayer or meditation.

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