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How do we deal with stress as a nation?

Wednesday 20th August

We all have our own triggers when it comes to stress, and likewise, we all have our own ways of dealing with it. According to the results from our recent Health of The Nation survey however, it seems that the ways in which we’re coping with stress could be quite the cause for concern.

Whilst stress itself isn’t an illness, it can cause a range of health problems if it isn’t treated properly.  So with a whopping 42% of us claiming to have suffered from stress, it’s incredibly important that we all have some effective coping mechanisms in place.

Recognising the causes of stress can be a huge step towards avoiding the problem. It seems that, for many people, their stress levels are linked to their employment; 48% of those who are self-employed suffer from stress, compared to just 31% of retired people.

Knowing the symptoms is another big help when it comes to managing stress effectively. Constant worrying and anxious thoughts are considered the most common signs of stress, with over 67% recognising these symptoms. Women seemed to be slightly more aware than their male counterparts however, with 41% recognising that nausea was a symptom of stress, compared to just 27% of men. The inability to concentrate that comes with stress was also largely picked up by women, with 71% of women acknowledging this, as opposed to 57% of men.

Women’s heightened awareness of these symptoms may be linked to the fact that more women suffer from stress than men, with 48% of women having experienced stress, compared to just 35% of men.

So with such large number of us feeling the strain, what measures are we currently taking to combat stress?

Again, this seems to vary depending on whether you are a man or women. Female respondents were a lot more likely to rely on their friends in times of stress, with 36% leaning on friend in times of need, in comparison to just 26% of men.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, over half of us (55%) will watch TV as a way of de-stressing, whilst 34% of us opt to take a relaxing bath. Nevertheless, despite the harmful affect it can have on our health, a worrying 22% of us turn to alcohol. What’s more, 14% of us are relying on smoking as a way of coping with stress. With the amount of damning evidence that alcohol and cigarettes are harmful to your health, it’s certainly a cause for concern.

On the other hand, these methods could simply raise some more interesting questions about people’s knowledge of de-stressors; the results also revealed that a number of people don’t know how to combat stress at all (6%). This could suggest that it’s a lack of awareness of alternatives that could cause people to resort to the unhealthier means of combating stress.

 

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