A study of 10,000 people conducted by Bupa has found that nearly 44% of them are stressed and 27% feel they are really close to breaking point. 28% of them said they have been stressed for more than a year.
The survey showed that nearly 50% of 45 to 54-year-olds are the most stressed. Those over 55 years were found to be calmer. Women were found to be more stressed than men.
Dr Martin Baggaley, medical director at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, said: 'While low-level and irregular bouts of stress can be beneficial and manageable, it's concerning to see that so many people are experiencing sustained and relentless stress. If left unchecked for a prolonged period of time, stress can cause much more serious, long-term mental and physical illnesses such as anxiety and depression, and be a contributing factor in health problems such as heart disease and even obesity.'
The study found that the main cause of stress is worries regarding finances, work, long-term illness and family life.
'It's important that people realize that stress is not just something that you have to put up with. If you recognize that you are under unusual pressure, try self-help techniques - for example deep breathing, taking exercise and avoiding unhealthy behaviors - these can all make a real difference and help you to feel back in control. If self-help isn't having an effect, or if you're concerned about your stress levels or feeling very anxious, you should always talk to your GP or a healthcare professional.'