More Americans than ever before are stressed, depressed and anxiety-ridden, and many are unable to get the help they need, a new study suggests. According to this report:

An estimated 8.3 million American adults — about 3.4 percent of the U.S. population — suffer from serious psychological distress, an evaluation of federal health data concluded. Previous estimates put the number of Americans suffering from serious psychological distress at 3 percent or less, the researchers said.

What’s the cause? According to Judith Weissman, research manager in the department of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, it’s “likely a lasting after-effect of the Great Recession that began in late 2007 — a stress-filled time that caused long-term emotional damage to many Americans.”

Many people psychologically affected by the Great Recession haven’t been able to get the help they need, either because they can’t afford it or because their condition hampers their ability to seek out treatment, she said.

As a result, hundreds of thousands of Americans live with serious psychological distress, an umbrella term that runs from general hopelessness and nervousness all the way up to diagnosable conditions such as depression and anxiety, Weissman explained.

And if you thought Americans had it bad, workaholic Japan has just introduced a law limiting workers to no more than 100 hours of overtime a month!

Royal Concern
Two British Royals, Princes William and Harry have also been talking about mental health issues in public. Prince William had a Facetime with Lady Gaga about the letter she wrote concerning her PTSD, and Prince Harry talked about his own long-term mental and emotional struggles following the death of his mother. Both emphasized the importance of removing shame and stigma by talking openly about these often invisible sufferings.

Prevention Better than Cure
In this short podcast Jared Wilson discusses how to Prevent Pastoral Burnout. He offers a three-words formula: Rest, Boundaries, and Margin. Tune in to hear his exposition and then read another take at Christianity Today. Their solution? Equip the Saints (Eph. 4:12), which Karl Vaters calls “the pastor’s prime mandate.”

In that passage, the Apostle Paul clearly tells us we have been called “for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.

The longer I pastor, the more convinced I am that one of the prime reasons for pastoral burnout is that too many pastors – especially small church pastors, like me – are ignoring that simple command.

5 Ways Exercise Helps the Leader’s Mind
Although it sounds counter-intuitive, one of the best ways to get more work done and increase free time is to add exercise to our daily routine. How does that work? Eric Geiger explains the 5 Ways Exercise Helps the Leader’s Mind.

  • Exercise increases learning ability.
  • Exercise lowers the impact of stress.
  • Exercise lowers sensitivity to anxiety.
  • Exercise helps fight depression.
  • Exercise increases memory capacity.

Sleep is the New Status Symbol
“Sleep is the single most effective thing you can do to reset your brain and body,” Dr. Walker of U.C. Berkeley said. If that doesn;t get you to read this article, try some other quotes like:

For years, studies upon studies have shown how bad sleep weakens the immune system, impairs learning and memory, contributes to depression and other mood and mental disorders, as well as obesitydiabetescancer and an early death. (Sedated sleep — hello Ambien — has been shown to be as deleterious as poor sleep.)

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls sleeplessness a public health concern. Good sleep helps brain plasticity, studies in mice have shown; poor sleep will make you fat and sad, and then will kill you. It is also expensive: Last year, the RAND Corporation published a study that calculated the business loss of poor sleep in the United States at $411 billion — a gross domestic product loss of 2.28 percent.

Companies now fight “presenteeism,” a neologism that describes the lackluster performance of foggy-brained, sleep-deprived employees.

The Army has proclaimed sleep a pillar of peak soldier performance.

Jeff Bezos, the chief executive of Amazon, who used to take a sleeping bag to work when he was a lowly computer programmer, has said that his eight hours of sleep each night were good for his stockholders.

Aetna, the health care company, is paying its workers up to $500 a year if they can prove they have slept for seven hours or more for 20 days in a row.

For more, read Sleep is the New Status Symbol.

Get more Grace-Paced Life resources here.