Put the Stress on Happiness; Expert Advice about Tackling Strains as Recession Hits Families

Article excerpt

Byline: By Laura Coventry

FAMILIES are seeing stress levels soar because of money worries, due to the cost of living and the current recession.

However, today is Stress Down Day, an annual event run by the Samaritans.

The term "stress", according to the Stress Management Society, is "a situation where demands on a person exceed that person's resources or ability to cope".

Some 11 per cent of all absences in the workplace are stress-related, while a staggering 105million work days are lost each year because of it.

Stress does not just affect you psychologically, being under pressure can also have a physical effect.

A survey conducted by the Stress Management Society revealed the top 10 reasons why we are so stressed.

Director Neil Shah said: "We wanted to ascertain how causes of stress have changed over the last year, as 2008 was quite stressful for most people.

"A lot of the issues are financially related. Because of the amount of uncertainty, people stop doing the things they'd normally do."

Professor Jacqueline Atkinson, from the department of public health and health policy at Glasgow University, explained: "Situations where you don't have control cause stress, particularly if you don't have the skills to cope.

"Clearly, money worries and the recession are a big problem. How that manifests itself varies depending on whether you are someone who was already on the poverty line, someone who has lost their job, or someone that has been used to a high income that has been cut.

"If you are used to a particular standard of living and that changes, that is going to cause stress."

Here, Professor Atkinson examines the top 10 "stresscausers" and suggests ways to deal with them more efficiently.

JOB SECURITY

How realistic is the prospect of losing your job? For some people, it isn't a huge problem, but they still get psyched up about it. For others, it is a genuine concern.

If you think your chance of losing your job is very high, think about looking for another job where you can utilise your skills.

You may have to change your direction.

It makes sense to make financial cut-backs now, just in case.

RECESSION/TURMOIL IN THE ECONOMY

There is no point obsessing about the national economy because, as an individual, you can't do anything about it.

Do something distracting or relaxing so you don't think about it and instead focus on the things you can do something about. Look at your own individual situation.

MEDIA COVERAGE OF DOWNTURN

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