Seven out of ten of the UK population believe that they are suffering from stress, according to a survey carried out to mark the UK’s National Stress Awareness Day, a a figure that rises to almost nine out of ten 25-34 year-olds.
Organised for the sixth year running by the International Stress Management AssociationUK (ISMAUK), the survey, undertaken in October, also reveals that six out of ten of the UK population also say that they "often" suffer from unacceptable levels of stress.
The figures show an increase over last year, when two thirds of people reported suffering from stress at work. But how far this jump is down to the increased public awareness of stress-related issues and its rising profile in the media remains unclear.
"In the six years that ISMAUK has been organising National Stress Awareness Day, we've seen a steady upward trend in the reporting of stress, and these figures are the worst yet," says Rosemary Anderson, Chair of ISMAUK.
"What people need to understand is that stress isn't something that will simply go away if left to its own devices. There are many active measures that we can take to reduce the effects of stress in our lives.”
"One of the interesting findings of the research, for example, is that if young people are suffering from stress, one in three of them will call a friend to talk about it - a vital coping strategy that anyone could benefit from. Yet these figures fall to less than one on ten as people get older - indicating that stress is something that they are reluctant to admit to. That simply can't continue if we're going to tackle stress effectively."
To help businesses deal with stress, ISMAUK is also organising more than 20 free local workshops during the week following National Stress Awareness Day, the content of which has been approved by the Health and Safety Executive.
ISMAUK has also offered some tips to help reducing your own personal stress
- Find someone who will listen. Talk to them or seek professional help.
- Take regular short breaks throughout the day - especially at times or in situations that are causing you to experience stress.
- Avoid self-medication with nicotine, alcohol, coffee or tranquillisers.
- Use physical activity to work off stress.
- Don't put off relaxing. Learn stress reduction techniques and use them daily.
- When you are ill, don't pretend that you are not.
- Recharge your batteries with adequate rest and sleep. Stop when you are tired and do something about it.
- Don't be too argumentative. Life shouldn't be a constant battleground.
- Recognise and acknowledge what you cannot change.
- Manage your time better. Prioritise and delegate. Prevent excess pressure tomorrow by saying "NO" today.
Details of all the workshops (including how to reserve places at them), together with the activities being organised on National Stress Awareness Day itself, are available on the ISMAUK website - www.isma.org.uk - which also provides a wealth of stress-related advice and information.