Americans and stress: U.S. sets itself up for misery

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Justin Cross/The Cougar

You wake up at 6 in the morning, shower, maybe eat breakfast, then wait in traffic to get to your job that you hate.

You’re annoyed because you have so much work to do and you don’t feel that your salary reflects how much you actually do. You get out of work, but remember you have to get groceries. But you haven’t been paid yet and you’re way too tired, so you decide to just pick up fast food instead and start wishing that things were just a little bit easier.

Then tomorrow and for the foreseeable future you are doing this routine five to six days a week until you’ve saved enough money to finally retire. America.

The United States has a stress problem. Everyone is angry at everyone, and everything ranging from finances, work or family issues is hindering people’s ability to simply be content with their living situation.

USA Today in 2014 released the results of an analysis that showed to live comfortably in the U.S. would require an income of at least $130,357.

The expenses account for the general understanding of what the American dream is: a spouse, two kids, decent house, time for vacations and the occasional dinner at a decent restaurant.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average household income was $53,657 in 2014. Meaning that the average American is virtually incapable of actually living a life comparable to the American dream.

The American Psychological Association reports that finances continue to be the number one cause of stress in the United States. Wage stagnation is not only hurting people’s ability to live comfortably, it’s affecting people’s mentality and general happiness.

A lot of people believe that working hard is just part of life. That everyone just needs to shut up, stop complaining and get back to work. 70 percent of Americans hate their job, according to Gallup, so it’s hard to tell a vast majority of Americans that they need to just “stick it out.”

Working hard should be a part of life, but not at the cost of your own sanity.

But the problem is things don’t seem to be getting better. The United States is virtually the only major country without paid sick leave or adequate paid maternity leave. Meaning you’re basically screwed if you get sick or pregnant.

It doesn’t help anyone if someone is sick at work. It only stresses out the employee because they’re scared they might get laid off or not be able to pay rent from missing a couple days of work because of the flu.

The United States is a stressful country to live in. But we continue to live under this idea that things are going to get better, when really nothing is going to change unless we do something about it.

People can talk about the economy improving and jobs being on the rise all they want, but if Americans are frustrated and unhappy, the economic benefits don’t really matter.

Opinion editor Anthony Torres is a political science junior and may be reached at [email protected]

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