Politics, economy, terrorism: Stress on the rise for Americans

- Stressed out? You're not alone and it could be impacting your health and more.

Some of the headlines in the news this week alone may feel like people are losing control and preparing to go over the edge. An apparent road-rage crash was caught on video in California after a motorcyclist kicks another car with his leg, which then leads that car and another vehicle to wreck.

In the District, a Giant Food worker stabbed his co-worker in the produce section with a knife she was using to cut watermelon. Her co-worker was taken to the hospital while he was taken to jail.

Dentist George Kesten said the high stress levels are impacting people’s health.

“The stress level is higher and I really don't think that I have been treating this many cases of people grinding their teeth than probably the same period of time right after 9/11,” he said.

Kesten is talking about people who grind their teeth in their sleep. They have no idea.

“People are very stressed,” Kesten said. “Patients are coming in with lists of medications. A lot of them are psychotropics.  They are just anxious and a lot of people take it out on their poor teeth.”

The search is on for outlets to alleviate stress. Some are turning to yoga.

“I notice more first [timers],” said a volunteer a Yoga District named Santiago. “The teachers every class, they usually ask if there are any new students just to get a sense of the level of the class that they are going to deliver. I have been hearing a lot of newcomers.”

Time and time again, we have heard many blame their stress on the politics. More than half of Americans reportedly say the current political climate is a very or somewhat significant source of stress.

Bars across the district are filled with people who have plenty to say about it all on both sides. For Paul Spence of Civil Cigar Lounge in Northwest D.C., stress is good for business.

“It's a stressful city in which we live right now simply because of the political times, but I think people are a little stressed out, and I think they love to come here and just relax,” said Paul Spence of Civil Cigar Lounge in Northwest D.C. “The beautiful thing about cigars is it takes time. You sit down and relax to smoke the cigar so that stress just rolls off the body.”

Just a few months ago, the American Psychological Association reported the first significant increase in the overall average stress level among Americans since they began surveying ten years ago. It is not just politics fueling stress. Terrorist, police violence and personal safety were also concerns.

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