Body-mind fitness professionals may gain more clients by promoting the stress-relieving benefits of mindful exercise, rather than focusing on its physical conditioning effects. One-third of all Americans are living with extreme stress, and 48% believe that their stress levels have increased over the last 5 years, according to the 2007 Stress in America online survey, released by the American Psychological Association (APA). While most Americans believe that stress is a fact of life, almost half think that stress negatively impacts their emotional well-being and physical health.
Americans report a number of physical and psychological symptoms of stress, including fatigue, headache, irritability, muscle tension, anger and nervousness, among others, according to the survey. Approximately half of adults lose sleep from stress and over one-third overeat, choose unhealthy foods or skip meals.
“Stress in America continues to escalate and is affecting every aspect of people’s lives,” says Russ Newman, PhD, JD, APA executive director for professional practice. “The high stress levels that many Americans report experiencing can have long-term health consequences, ranging from fatigue to obesity and heart disease.”See www.apa.org for more information and a copy of the survey results.