Economic woes causing us to lose our minds

There are certain studies that seem really unnecessary. A recent Gallup-Healthways poll showing that U.S. residents have become more stressed as the economy worsens fits into this category.

I mean, of course we’re more stressed now. Of course our mental health is on the fritz. We’re all worried about losing our stupid jobs!

The USA Today, the paper that you read when it shows up outside your hotel room door, ran a story on the survey, saying that stress levels shot up throughout 2008. According to the story, the 10 saddest days of the year all came in the final quarter, as the economic news worsened.

It doesn’t say which days actually were the least-happiest. For me, though, it was the three when I trudged outside my Chicago home in below-zero weather to find that my car wouldn’t start. Twice this happened after I’d already scraped a coat of ice off my car’s windows. Those days, I suppose, would rank as extra-sad.

I don’t doubt the health survey’s results. But I’m not sure we need a survey to tell us that U.S. residents are worried about the economy and their emlpoyment options. Unemployment levels are soaring. Salaries are not. And 401(k) totals are disappearing.

What’s not to be stressed about?