New survey reveals Australians still struggling with stress

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New research from Medibank has revealed that many Australians are still struggling to manage stress even as the country emerges from the pandemic.

According to the survey of over 1,000 people, 42 per cent cite no improvement in how they manage stress levels as compared to pre-lockdown.

The survey also investigated the major causes of stress and management techniques. Finance and money came in first, followed by personal health, relationships, the pandemic in general, work, reading the news and scrolling through social media.

Other triggers included people losing their phone (32 per cent). Total responses showed crowded places (23 per cent) and being stuck in traffic (19 per cent) to follow closely as primary triggers.

The survey found that when it came to taking up unhealthy habits to reduce stress, more people were sinking into the couch, with binge-watching taking the lead (57 per cent), followed by stress eating (43 per cent), excessive drinking (22 per cent) and online shopping (15 per cent).

Australian psychologist Noosha Anzab said, “While there’s certainly more optimism that we’re moving into brighter times, there’s a huge number of Aussies who are feeling heightened stress.

“In 2022, we have to remember people are facing their new ‘reality’ post lockdowns, which may include changes in finances, relationships, and work and career.

“Medibank’s research highlights that while many Aussies are still looking to find long-term solutions to de-stress, we’re seeing more people take on a ‘fake it till you make it’ attitude. This includes getting dressed up for the day ahead and channelling a positive mood through character play, which can be hugely beneficial in helping you start the day right – and ultimately another tool to help manage stress.”

Mearly 20 per cent of survey respondents said their stress very frequently manifests into physical symptoms. Of those, anxiety is the leading result (59 per cent), followed by tension headaches (55 per cent), insomnia (43 per cent) and appetite changes (31 per cent). 

Medibank chief medical officer Dr Linda Swan said Australians are still navigating how they manage stress best in a post-pandemic world.

“Stress is normal and something everyone experiences in life. However, when left unmanaged it can become overwhelming and have an impact on our health and wellbeing.

“When it comes to decreasing stress, the benefits of physical activity are undeniable. Regular exercise – even for just 20-minutes, three times a week – can be highly beneficial for stress management. The key is to find an exercise that works with your lifestyle and most importantly, is one that you enjoy.”