Overwhelmed America: Over a third feel guilty or anxious when not busy

March 28, 2014, 4:47 PM GMT+0

Over a third of Americans say that they feel guilty or anxious when they aren't busy

Washington Post reporter Brigid Schulte recently released her latest book,'Overwhelmed'. The book casts a critical eye at the fast pace and high pressure of American life, drawing certain predictable conclusions. One might come as a surprise to many of us, though: we're just not as busy as we say we are. People work longer hours than they have for decades, but people also seriously underestimate the amount of leisure time that they actually have. In fact, we may exaggerate how busy we are in order to make ourselves look better and more important to others, something that Schulte dubs the "busier than thou" attitude.

The latest research from YouGov shows that most Americans (59%) consider themselves to be 'busy' people, while 36% don't. The most likely people to describe themselves as busy are people in households with an annual income in excess of $100,000 a year, 79% of whom say that they are busy. Fully 37% of Americans report feelings of guilt or anxiety if they aren't busy.

Asked whether people ever exaggerate how busy they are to make themselves look better, 63% say that they think people do, while 15% say that people don't. Only 24% of people confess to exaggerating how busy they are.

Full poll results can be found here.

Image: Getty

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