Brits need lessons on managing their stress

A survey carried out by the Mental Health Foundation has revealed that the British people's approach to stress could leave them at risk of serious mental health problems

Eating junk food, spending time alone or ‘just living with it’ are the most common approaches to dealing with stress, according to new research.

Results from the National Stress Survey by The Mental Health Foundation charity, reveal that the British approach to dealing with stress runs the risk of serious mental health problems.

The Be Mindful Stress Survey also revealed that one in five of us feel stressed every day, and half of us feel stressed at least once a week, with money and work-related issues being principle causes.

When asked how they deal with stress, almost two thirds of respondents (63%) said that they would do nothing and just lived with it. This was followed by 30% who said they spend time alone, and 26% whose response was to eatcomfort or junk food.

All three responses are in contrast to recommended stress-management practice, which advises that people should take steps to manage their stress, remain sociable and talk about their problems, and eat healthily.

Without managing it appropriately, stress can result in more serious mental health problems, such as depression, as well as contributing to the risk of physical health problems such as stroke or heart attack.

Dr Andrew McCulloch, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation said: ‘The economic costs of unmanaged stress are huge and increasing – 11 million lost working days a year at the last count.

The results of the Be Mindful survey suggest that despite the uncertain times ahead, if more people can learn to manage their stress through healthy approaches, such as eating well, taking regular exercise, and practicing mindfulness, there is no reason why the burden of stress on society need continue as it has been’.

For advice and tips about managing stress, visit the main Mental Health Foundation website at


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