Brits spend over five years worrying according to latest research

28th January 2013

Stressed-out Brits spend over five years of their life worrying, a study by the UK healthcare provider benenden health revealed yesterday.

Researchers found that the typical adult scratches their head in despair for nearly two hours each day, with the high cost of living, feeling out of shape and mounting debt the most common triggers.

Worries about getting old, job security and relationships also leave a dark cloud hanging over millions of Brits.

The study also found that extreme anxiety has left adults unable to concentrate at work, endure sleepless nights and caused rifts with their partners.

The research, which was commissioned by leading health and wellbeing mutual benenden health, found the average person endures 14 hours each week weighed down with worry.

Indeed, 45 per cent of those studied admitted the amount they worried had directly affected their health.

Paul Keenan, Head of Communications at benenden health said yesterday: ‘It is a sad reality that stress is dominating our lives and having a severe impact – on our work life, our quality of sleep and our personal relationships.

‘The crunch comes when it begins to have a detrimental impact on our health – and 45% admit stress is already doing this. 32 per cent of people have even gone to the doctors because of worry or stress.’

Concerns over low energy levels, fearing the aging process or work concerns were featured in the list of the most common worries.

While relationship concerns like whether a partner is right for them or still in love with them burden the mind of many a typical person.

The average person experiences six nights every month where their sleep is disturbed or the quality reduced as a result of worrying.

And one in four Brits feel they have a major worry they aren’t dealing with properly or are deliberately avoiding.

A fifth has a friend or relative who they feel is currently running away from a problem while one third of people in relationships have a big worry they’ve kept secret from their partner - and these were most likely to be about finance problems.

Worryingly, one in four people don’t feel they have anyone who they’re able to talk with about their problems.

And three in ten bury a lot of things in order to get on with day to day life.

More than one in ten people have bank statements, bills or letters they have yet to open and they put these out of sight because they are too scared to read them.

Paul Keenan added: ‘It’s a small positive that 32% of people are taking stress issues to their doctor and seeking professional assistance. Brits need to ensure that stress is not taking over their lives without redress. They can do this by realising that a problem exists and not waiting until it is too late and their health is being severely impacted. The average person experienced 125 days over the last year where they had some sort of worry on their minds.

‘There’s a huge range of resources available to help people tackle stress – especially online where help is available from organisations such as Mind and the Stress Management Society.’

‘benenden health offers its members a Psychological Wellbeing 24/7 Helpline as part of its service offering, find out more at’

Top 30 biggest worries:

  1. My stomach/ being overweight
  2. Getting old in general
  3. Worried about my savings/ financial future
  4. My overall fitness
  5. Other financial debts
  6. Low energy levels
  7. Credit card debt
  8. Paying rent/mortgage
  9. Job security
  10. My diet
  11. Keeping the house clean
  12. Finding a new job
  13. Worried about my sex life
  14. I seem to be generally unhappy
  15. Wrinkles or aging appearance
  16. Whether or not I am attractive
  17. Worried about my physique
  18. Meeting work targets or goals
  19. Whether my partner still loves me
  20. Whether I'll find the right partner/ whether my current partner right
  21. Whether I'm in the right career
  22. A friend or family member I've fallen out with
  23. Whether I'm a good parent/ raising kids right
  24. Worried I have an unhealthy reliance or addiction
  25. Driving in general
  26. Pet's health
  27. One of my children is ill
  28. If my dress sense is good
  29. Worrying I'm ill but yet to be tested/ seek help
  30. Worried my partner may be cheating on me

Most commonly experienced effects of worry

  1. Sleepless nights
  2. Lost confidence
  3. Arguments with partner
  4. Reduced appetite
  5. Poor performance at work
  6. Distance from partner
  7. Avoided a social event
  8. Increased alcohol consumption
  9. Got a bit paranoid
  10. Nausea

Time spent worrying

14.31 hours per week worrying

744 hours worrying a year

45, 243 hours of worry in a lifetime

1,885 days of worry in a lifetime

5.2 years of worry


The survey of 2,000 Brits  was carried out by online market researchers on 6th January 2013. 


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