Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Stress, money and health problems abound

Stress, money and health problems abound in the US. The Gallup Organization and Healthways, Inc. released data today from a poll on health and happiness. The results (in my opinion) paint a depressing picture of Americans. Take these stats for instance:
  • Almost 40 percent of those polled said they were significantly stressed the day before
  • Two-thirds said they had at least one of a list of chronic health problems
  • 28 percent said they were not well-rested
  • A third said they worried about money the day before
  • 30 percent said they had a lot of worries in general and
  • 23 percent said they were in physical pain
What are the implications of a study like this? Perhaps drug companies will use the results as fodder to increase marketing budgets to better reach the hoards of stressed Americans. Or maybe the results point to why there has been such an increase in drug advertisements over the past five years.

According to an AHIP article The sponsors are hoping employers might use the information in support of bolstering social events for workers. It aligns with the finding that social time with friends and family is used as a buffer for stress. It also assumes that better social relationships in the workplace would help combat the stress born out of a bad workplace environment (one of the stress factors indicated in the study). Or is this the encouragement needed for the masses to adopt social networking. If an increase in friends and social activity correlates with a decrease in stress perhaps that’s the new message for conversing online and planning in-person meet-ups.

However you interpret the data, the important take-away is that the emotional wellbeing of Americans seems to be getting worse. Forty-seven percent of respondents identified themselves as struggling, up from thirty-seven percent in 2006, though that's to be expected in today's economic situation. Maybe we should release a Get Happier RFP, if that were the case what would your proposal include?

image credit: lindseyy

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