General News — 25 July 2012
Leading causes of stress identified

Lifeline’s 2012 Stress Poll reveals that work and concerns about the future are the leading areas of stress in Australia.

Overall, stress continues to be a big issue with 91% of respondents experiencing ‘some’ stress and 43% suffering from ‘a lot’ or unhealthy levels of stress.

The categories of work, with 53% of respondents, and thoughts about the future (51%) continue to be the biggest drivers.

“The 2011 Stress Poll results showed an alarming spike in stress levels across the board and the 2012 results prove that people still aren’t getting the messages about stress management,” said Chris Wagner, Lifeline’s Director of Communications and Government Relations.

Bupa Health and Wellness Ambassador, Matt Welsh echoed Lifeline’s sentiment adding that Australians need to be more aware of the negative effects of stress.

“Working with Bupa as a Corporate Health and Wellness Ambassador, I have seen the impact of stress on quality of work and life. Employers and employees need to be more aware of the negative effects that poorly managed stress can lead to, not only in terms of decreased productivity but also relating to long-term health issues.”

Lifeline’s Stress Poll has been in operation for more than five years and has closely monitored the upward trend in Australian stress levels. Lifeline and Bupa have called for a larger focus on stress management education.

“A simple first step to managing stress is identifying the source as people tend to stress about being stressed. If you can find the source of your stress you not only reduce its effects, but can identify whether there’s a need to seek help,” Welsh said.

“Resilience to stress through solutions such as working sensible hours, taking lunch breaks and encouraging a healthy work/life balance can make a world of difference.”

Other interesting data from the Stress Poll includes:

 Overall, females indicated higher frequency of ‘a lot’ of stress than males (50% compared to 36%);

 Stress levels specifically due to relationships were noticeably higher for single respondents (55% compared to 36-42%);

 Adults with children at home indicate more stress about personal relationships (52% vs 42%), thoughts about the future (77% vs 70%) and finances (73% vs 67%);

 Indications of ‘a lot’ of stress peaked at the 35-39 age bracket (57%); and

Households earning less than $50,000 recorded lower stress than those earning $90,000 or more in work (69% vs 82%), relationships (36% vs 53%) and finances (63% vs 73%).

“We can all take simple measures to reduce our stress levels from getting a good night’s sleep to making some time for exercise. Australians should be taking steps towards a better understanding of stress management and building resilience,” Wagner added.

“Another great way to take at least one day off stress is to take part in Lifeline’s Stress Down Day on Friday 27 July, and help us raise money to continue our 24 hour crisis line 13 11 14.”

To assist you in managing your personal stress levels a stress fact sheet and tool kit are available at http://www.stressdown.org.au/. Please visit www.bupa.com.au/health-and-wellness for stress tips and advice.

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