Americans are the most stressed people in the world.

…at least according to a recent Gallup Survey of over 150,000 people around the world.

The findings? Last year Americans reported stress, anger, and worry at their highest levels in over a decade. We’re simply the most stressed people in the world.

That caught my attention.

Why all the worry?

What’s with all of this stress in the richest country in the world? That’s not so clear. Although political frustrations are unusually high, it’s reasonable to assume that work stress is the biggest cause. Competition is more intense than ever (unless you’re part of a monopoly – and there’s only a few of those). When competition is intense, companies drive hard to differentiate. That differentiation today is generally in the form of digital.

In other words, things are changing fast – digitally fast – and that’s a big contributor to stress.

For instance, if you’re a Sales Professional, you face a whole slew of different challenges than just a few years back. That starts with the fact that getting in new doors is exponentially more difficult now than ever before. The tried-and-true tools of prospecting – phone & email – really don’t work anymore.

Nobody’s picking up their phone, and fewer are responding to email communication.

This is the digital disruption for salespeople. Buyers all start with a search engine now – the digital answering machine – before engaging sellers. You’re effectively blocked out, yet your quota depends on new client acquisition.

The Bigger Picture

Regardless of your profession, the reality is that people feel increasingly more and more exhausted today. They’re running harder than previous generations just to keep up. And, when people are running harder to just survive, they feel less respected & appreciated. As for fun – people are laughing less and less, in general.

These are all signs of more intense competition and working in environments of rapid change.

Is this the new American way?

Comparatively, other countries fall well below the stress level of Americans. Paraguay leads the worry-free list, reporting a population stress rate almost half to Americans. That’s a big number.

To be fair, the findings weren’t all negative. Although Americans are an increasingly stressed group, they also report more positive experiences. It’s a positive-negative rollercoaster – lots of ups, lots of downs…

What’s your world?

So, where do you fall on the stress scale? Was yesterday a stressful day for you? Odds favor that it was.  If so, how do you mitigate that frequent tension? For me, it’s always been about learning & trying different things. That dynamic makes work much more positive for me personally. When I forget that personal dynamic, I return to the “hamster stress-wheel.”

Finally…

Let’s all take a deep, collective breath and try to take the advice of that great American philosopher Bobby McFerrin.

“Ooh, ooh, ooh…  Don’t worry – be happy.”

Sage advice in stressful times.

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