It’s no secret that the new year can be a stressful period. From financial pressures caused by the cost of living crisis and energy costs to mental health issues, there are a number of aspects influencing why UK adults are feeling stress more than ever.
We did this to investigate the main factors currently affecting UK residents and have demographic data that can help us identify the regions and age groups currently struggling the most.
Revealing how often the UK feels stress
As we know, stress is never a good thing and can have a detrimental effect on our health. Unaddressed stress can lead to a rise in blood pressure which can raise the risk of heart attacks and strokes, for those with already underlying health issues, this can cause significant risk.
Stress can also lead to an increase in burnout which can lead to less productivity in work or social aspects of our lives. Furthermore, carrying these burdens can only increase the risk of feeling the long-term effects of depression or anxiety.
So, how often do we feel stressed? Our survey quizzed respondents to get an idea of how often they feel the pressures of stress. The results were alarming.
The survey revealed that the most common timeframe to feel stress was more than once a week, with 17% of those questionned revealing this. There were also 14% who shared that this is something they experience several times a week, while a further 8% revealed they typically feel stressed every day.
10% of female respondents claimed their stress was a daily occurrence, while 18% of women revealed this was something experienced several times a week. In comparison, 7% of males reported feeling stress daily and 10% several times a week.
Regionally, Londoners were most likely to encounter stress more than once a week (18%), and the southeast of England was the region with the most people feeling stressed daily (13%).
Positively, 17% of those questioned stated that they only feel stressed less than once a month, furthermore, 6% luckily reported that they never feel the effects of stress. This 6% included 9% of males surveyed, while the age group most likely to report no feelings of stress were aged 65 or over (12%).
The older generations tended to report feeling stressed less, almost a quarter (24%) of those aged 65 and above revealed that they encounter stress less than once a month. Despite this, 10% of the same age group still felt the effects on a daily basis.
Now that we know the frequency of stress felt around the UK, it’s valuable to gain a deeper understanding of the reasons behind this. We asked respondents to pick the aspect that causes them to feel stress the most.
With so much pressure currently being put on households financially, it was no surprise to see money or bills prove to be the most popular aspect driving stress across the UK. In total, 38% of those surveyed reported finances were causing them anxiety, topping the list of factors.
Other factors causing UK residents stress include; not getting enough sleep (31%), work (30%) and family (27%). 23% also shared that their frustration with not having enough time to do what they wanted was causing them to become stressed.
Analysing regional data revealed that those situated in the southwest of the UK were most likely to stress over finances (45%), this figure was also high among Londoners, with 41% in the capital city citing money as their main cause of stress.
The older generations were much less likely to worry about money, only 24% of those over 65 chose finances as a reason for stress. In fact, 19% of this age group revealed that they have nothing in particular that they stress about.
Not getting enough sleep was a cause for concern for those aged 45-54, 37% had picked this as their main reason for stress.
On the other hand, the younger generations were more likely to stress over aspects such as social media, with 22% of 18-24-year-olds choosing this as their main source of stress, the most out of any age bracket.
So it seems that the reason we stress is relative, with younger generations more inclined to worry about things such as the online world, while older age groups tend to stress more about aspects such as money and getting insignificant amounts of rest.
How stress affects our daily lives and what we can do about it
Now that we know how often stress is encountered around the UK and some of the aspects driving this, it’s intriguing to examine how much these worries can affect our day-to-day lives.
Therefore, we asked those surveyed how stress has affected their lives, they were allowed to pick more than one option if it applied to them. The table below highlights the main factors influenced by stress.
Overall, mental health was revealed as the aspect being affected the most by stress (34%), this was not much of a shock as the prolonged effects of stress can lead to mental health issues, including depression and anxiety, if the increased feeling of worry is ignored.
The burdens of stress can also impair memory, cognitive performance and even reduce appetite, therefore, it was no surprise to learn that almost a quarter of those questioned quoted work performance as a factor being affected by stress, while 24% revealed their ability to make quick decisions diminished.
Interestingly, 25% of 18-24-year-olds revealed that their worry was causing performance issues in the bedroom, however, this was not a gender-specific issue, with 14% of both males and females stating this as a consequence of stress.
Regional data suggests that those in London were most likely to have their physical health affected by stress (38%), while over half of Northern Irish respondents sadly shared that their personal relationships had taken a hit (55%). East Midlanders were the least affected, with 48% choosing none of the factors.
While stress is something that is sometimes unavoidable, it can certainly be managed or reduced over time. Everybody has different ways of coping and different mechanisms that can be utilised to reduce stress levels.
Therefore, we asked UK adults to state some of the ways they relieve stress when encountering worrying thoughts. The top answers included:
Other ways people claim they reduce their stress included; having a nap (18%), having sex or masturbating (14%) and meditation (13%).
It was interesting to note that going for a walk proved to be the most popular way of reducing stress, this is a method that is known to benefit mental health issues and can help ease the effects of anxiety.
Going for a walk proved most popular in the East Midlands, with 57% of people in this area revealing a stroll as their coping mechanism.
In proper British fashion, it was fascinating to see 29% find comfort in kicking back and having a brew! This was a popular option across different age groups, with a third of 35-44-year-olds choosing this, similarly, 33% of over 65s also selected this method.
Lastly, we asked 2,000 UK adults if they had ever spoken to their GP about feelings of stress. The survey highlighted that 63% of people had never spoken with their doctor about their worries, while 6% also preferred not to say.
Age demographics revealed that the younger age groups were more likely to discuss their stress with a GP, 51% of 25 to 34-year-olds had previously discussed this with their doctor, compared to only 22% of those aged 65 or above.
Scottish respondents were by far the least likely to discuss stress with their GP, in total, 81% shared that this was something they had never done. On the other hand, 55% of those in Northern Ireland had done so previously.
Overall, our investigation into stress in the UK has yielded some really intriguing results. In particular, it was a useful discovery to learn the main causes of stress, with money, sleep and work all cited as the main reasons for worrying.
Moreover, it was also valuable to learn the different ways people in the UK manage their stress. We found it quite shocking to see meditation rank so low, with only 13% utilising this impactful method to reduce stress.
Aspects such as going for a walk and exercise ranked high on these survey questions, which was reassuring as both methods have been scientifically proven to help reduce levels of worry and stress while proving extremely beneficial for mental health.
If you need any medical advice or require any further information regarding prescription treatment, please look no further than us at Click Pharmacy. Our informative site is always available to provide you with help sourcing prescriptions at your local pharmacies.
Click Pharmacy commissioned a survey of 2,000 UK adults aged 18 and over between the 23rd-25th of January 2023.