Everyone is feeling stressed these days, but if you’re a little more than stressed then you are not alone. Milwaukee was ranked the eighth most-stressed out city in the country in a recent study.
Dr. Adam Moriwaki, a local clinical psychologist says that stress can come from anywhere, but it is most typically found in a mix of work and home life. “Navigating relationships is often an underlying factor for stress in individuals,” said Dr. Moriwaki. “Besides the interpersonal components of stress, the bodily need of sleep is actually quite important.”
Milwaukee was chosen by a list of factors in the study. Some of which are 15.8% of our residents reported having poor mental health. The poverty rate is at 22.4%, about 10.2% of people are without health insurance and almost 40% of people are sleeping less than seven hours per night. No wonder we have so many coffee shops.
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Stress has many effects on our wellbeing and can even impede our ability to make rational decisions, potentially increasing or prolonging our stress. “The higher the stress the more likely our animal-brain ‘fight-flight’ response will kick in,” said Dr. Moriwaki. “This leaves our decision making highly compromised.”
The fight or flight adaptation was to the benefit of our ancestors, because according to Dr. Moriwaki, it helped them from becoming prey to another species. Being able to make the snap decision to either fight or run away, which takes place in our amygdala, does not help us today because generally, we are not concerned about being eaten by an animal larger than ourselves. Generally, we are more concerned about our jobs or our relationships. Dr. Moriwaki believes that we need to learn to not avoid what is stressing us our and deal with the issue right away. “When people avoid what is causing them stress it often balloons to create high levels of anxiety and creates a vicious cycle that is hard to break,” said Dr. Moriwaki.
Do not worry if you are feeling this way, because not all is lost. There are ways to deal with your stress to help live a happier and less stressed-out life. One way is to permit yourself to take some time in silence and reflect on what is causing your stress. Knowing what you want and what you need, and once you can identify that it makes it easier to meet those needs according to Dr. Moriwaki. One of the poorer numbers in the study was how many people are getting less than seven hours of sleep. A way to remedy this, if you can, is not to stay on your phone or watch TV until bedtime. Doing something a little less stimulating than interacting with the bright colors illuminating from your LED screens like reading a book instead. This will help the brain decompress even more and the sleep you get may feel more fulfilling.