Almost three in four Brits suffering from stress, AXA research reveals

20 November 2018

Posted in Product

by Leigh Jackson (see media contact)

  • Almost three quarters of Brits feel stressed at least some of time and almost one in ten feels stressed all the time
  • Liverpool is the UK’s most stressed city, while Brighton and Glasgow are the least stressed
  • Work, health and worries about children are among the most common causes of stress

Some 72% of Brits feel stressed at least some of the time during a typical week leading to feelings of anxiety, tension and a lack of sleep, AXA’s 2018 Stress Index has revealed.

The findings, based on a survey of 2,000 UK adults,1 also found that 9% of Brits feel stressed all the time, with women (78%) more likely to feel stressed than their male counterparts (66%).

However, both genders share the same concerns. The top causes of stress for both men and women are pressures at work (women 78% and men 74%), health worries about the family (women 74% and men 68%) and concerns about their children’s future (women 77% and men 72%).

The survey also investigated broader issues affecting Britain and found that 39% of respondents were stressed about Brexit, three in five are concerned about war and terrorism (the figure for Londoners is 65%) and 22% are worried about robots or artificial intelligence taking their jobs.

Battling stress

The research also revealed that listening to music was the most common way to relieve stress, with 37% of Brits playing their favourite songs to unwind. A further third of respondents watch TV and 30% read books.

While some favour healthy pursuits such as exercise (24%) and gardening (17%) others comfort eat (20%), drink alcohol (18%) and smoke (8%) to relieve stress.

Perhaps more worrying is the impact of stress has on health. According to the study, 42% feel anxious because of stress, while 38% feel tense and 30% say it caused restlessness.

In addition, 27% said that stress was causing a lack of sleep and just over a quarter (26%) revealed that stress was causing a lack of interest in everyday activities.

Stressed cities

Meanwhile, the research also looked at stress on a regional basis, revealing that Liverpool is the most stressed city in the UK, with 79% of residents stressed at least some of the time. Newcastle (78%) is second, while London and Belfast (76%) are the third most stressed cities.

Conversely, Brighton and Glasgow are the UK’s least stressed cities, with 37% of residents never or rarely stressed, followed by Birmingham (34%) and Nottingham (31%).

“This research shows that Britain is struggling to manage its levels of stress. Although people are worried about their jobs, family and their health, factors such as Brexit and terrorism are also causing sleepless nights.

“What is promising is that almost a quarter of respondents are turning to healthy ways to manage stress by taking time to exercise, which a better option than comfort eating, drinking or smoking.

“Stress can cause feelings of anxiousness, restlessness and can make people feel isolated, so it is important that anyone struggling to cope seeks help – for example from their GP or from the helplines provided by mental health charities such as Mind, Rethink Mental Illness and the Samaritans. Those whose employer provides access to an employee assistance programme can speak in confidence to a qualified counsellor or therapist.”

Callum Taylor, Head of Management Liability

Tables

Britain’s most and least stressed cities

Most stressed (residents are stressed at least some of time)

Least stressed (residents are never or rarely stressed)

Liverpool

79%

Brighton and Glasgow

37%

Newcastle

78%

Birmingham

34%

London and Belfast

76%

Nottingham

31%

Leeds

74%

Bristol and Cardiff

30%

Norwich

73%

Edinburgh, Sheffield and Southampton

29%

Manchester and Plymouth

72%

 

 

The gender divide: What do men and women do to relieve stress?

Activity

Overall

Male

Female

Listening to music

37 %

40 %

33 %

Watching TV or stream TV services

33 %

35 %

32 %

Reading a book

30 %

21 %

38 %

Browsing the internet

26 %

28 %

24 %

Exercise

24 %

25 %

24 %

Spending time with family

24 %

19 %

28 %

Comfort eating

20 %

15 %

25 %

Spending time with friends

20 %

16 %

23 %

Having a bath or shower

18 %

13 %

23 %

Drinking alcohol

18 %

18 %

17 %

Gardening

17 %

15 %

19 %

Taking time out to think

16 %

18 %

14 %

Taking the dog for a walk or spend time with your pets

14 %

12 %

16 %

Going out on your own

13 %

12 %

14 %

Cooking

11 %

9 %

13 %

Phoning family or friends

10 %

5 %

14 %

Watching wildlife

9 %

10 %

8 %

Having sex

9 %

13 %

5 %

Smoking

8 %

8 %

9 %

Masturbating

8 %

13 %

3 %

Retail therapy

8 %

4 %

11 %

Drinking herbal tea

4 %

3 %

6 %

Practising yoga

4 %

3 %

5 %

1Online survey of 2000 UK adults undertaken for AXA September 2018 by Opinium Research.