16:58 05 November 2013
Health insurers Bupa have revealed the results of a study into national stress levels which said that just over a quarter of us claim they regularly "feel close to breaking point".
Those aged between 45 and 54 had the highest stress levels, with women being classed as the most stressed.
The cases of distress were revealed as money, followed by work and family life in Bupa's study of over 10,000 people.
Nearly half of us (44%) regularly suffer from stress and the effects are long lasting.
Dr Martin Baggaley, medical director, 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.”
Men are more likely than women to drink due to anxiety, whereas women have tried turning to breathing and relaxation exercises.
Two thirds said that they would seek help as a last resort only if they felt completely overwhelmed by their daily lives.
Dr Baggaley continued: “There is a growing 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.”
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