In today’s world, we have access to any information at the click of a button and are able to communicate with one another faster, quicker and more efficiently than ever before. These advancements have brought about so many incredible changes to the way we function on a global scale. Yet remarkably we have lost contact with the fundamentals of our very existence as a price; our health.
To be precise, our mental health.
Over the past year alone, it has been found that 74% have felt stressed to such a high degree that we became overwhelmed and unable to cope (1). According to the latest (and largest) survey on stress, 36% of those asked said that this was a result of worrying about their own or a friend/relative’s long-term health condition. Stress has strong links to physical health problems, such as digestive issues, reduced/increased sleep, memory depletion and disturbed energy homeostasis of the body (2)(3).
In a survey conducted by AXA, they found that 84% of us suffer from stress at least some of the time each week, as well as 8% who say they feel stressed all of the time (4). Alarmingly, among the 4,000 participants, 59% said that they see the workplace as an ‘always on’ culture, meaning that we never really clock off from our jobs. 39% admitted to taking calls out of hours and a further 55% also check regularly emails.
It is no wonder that these findings are seen as evidence to suggest we are in the midst of a stress epidemic.
Despite all the pretty pictures we paint ourselves on and offline to our friends and family, its time to ask a serious question to ourselves…
ARE WE REALLY COPING?
Not enough is being done to tackle the evergrowing crisis that we are all facing. Whether it has hit us personally or not, it will affect us one way or another at some stage. In 2017, out of 2000 workers, 23% don’t believe that their organisation takes wellbeing seriously, with more than half of those organisations not offering health benefits such as health screening (5). 2 in 5 of those asked said that they have taken time off or reduced their responsibilities because of their health.
More statistics from the latest stress survey shows how we are worried about finances, physical appearances, relationships, academic pressures, and social expectations to succeed (1). Moreover, there was an emphasis on younger adults feeling more stressed when comparing themselves to others, which provides evidence for how overlooked health and wellbeing is within this modern digital society.
Just picture this…
Imagine holding a balloon in your hand, and slowly applying pressure to it. The more you push on it the more distorted its shape. The harder you press, the risk of it popping grows. Eventually, the force of your hands will cause the balloon to burst.
That is what stress does to a person.
The more stress that is applied to the mind, the more difficult thinking becomes, and vision is distorted. The longer that stress is pressed onto the mind, the greater the damage being done to the soul.
Letting go of the pressure is not easy, especially over things we care about the most. Yet, without learning to let go we will fall deeper and deeper into hopelessness and loss of control.
This Mental Health Awareness Week, I want to encourage you all to think about whether you are coping well with your current life. If you feel to any degree that you are struggling with something, I urge to talk. Talk to your loved ones, friends, colleagues and professionals about how things are affecting your health, and that you hope to change things for your own benefit.
Don’t let yourself burst by holding it all in. Talk.
If you are concerned about yourself or anyone close to you regarding mental health issues such as stress, take a look at The Mental Health Foundation for further information of how best to begin to help improve circumstances.
You can also Test Your Stress using this online quiz HERE
- Priyadarshini, S., & Aich, P. (2016). Understanding effects of psychological stress on physiology and disease through human stressome-an integral algorithm. Current Bioinformatics, 11(2), 277-290.
- Gianaros, P. J., & Wager, T. D. (2015). Brain-body pathways linking psychological stress and physical health. Current directions in psychological science, 24(4), 313-321.