Worrying times: Are half of all Brits suffering from stress?
Children, money, work, home, health…These are just some of the demanding things we have to deal with on a daily basis. On top of this, the UK’s crippling recession and endless governmental cutbacks simply do not help matters when it comes to the everyday Brit trying to get on with their life and make ends meet. According to new research conducted by health insurers Bupa, almost half of Britons could in fact be ‘stressed’, after the study of over 10,000 people found that in total, 44% said they were suffering from stress. Of this group, for over a quarter, the problem of stress appeared to be a chronic issue with 28% admitted to feeling this way for over a year. Worryingly, 27% believe they are often feeling “close to breaking point”. However, stress levels were not equal amongst the sexes, and across varying age groups. For example, it was discovered that stress levels seemed to be highest within those aged between 45 and 54. It was found that 50% of this age group are stressed, in comparison to 38% of those aged 55 and over. Women are more likely to regard themselves as stressed – 49% say they are suffering from stress, compared to only 39% of men. Unsurprisingly, given the horrendous credit crunch in the UK, the primary cause of anxiety and stress according to the respondents was money, then work, family life and coping trying to live with a long-term health problem. Demographically, it was revealed that people living in the Midlands are likely to be the most stress in the country – 46% saying they are stressed. At the other end of the scale, the Welsh appear to be least stressed, with 40% saying they are suffering from stress, although this could still be considered quite high and not drastically different from the estimated proportion of those stressed in the Midlands. Dr Martin Baggaley, medical director at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust said: “This research shows stress is extremely common in this country. While low-level and irregular bouts of stress can be beneficial and manageable, it’s concerning to see that so many people are experiencing sustained and relentless stress. If left unchecked for a prolonged period of time, stress can cause much more serious, long-term mental and physical illnesses such as anxiety and depression, and be a contributing factor in health problems such as heart disease and even obesity.” Alarmingly, stress seems to cause many people to turn to alcohol, with 30% of men and 22% of women admitting to drinking more during stressful times. In addition, only 61% would only seek help if they struggle to cope with daily life. Dr Baggaley added: “There is agrowing problem of long-term stress in this country, which needs to be addressed. It’s important that people realise that stress is not just something that you have to put up with. If you recognise that you are under unusual pressure, try self-help techniques – for example deep breathing, taking exercise and avoiding unhealthy behaviours – these can all make a real difference and help you to feel back in control. If self-help isn’t having an effect, or if you’re concerned about your stress levels or feeling very anxious, you should always talk to your GP or a healthcare professional.”