'See Stress Differently' campaign launched to raise stress awareness and get people talking
Research by Cigna has revealed that 86% of British people are reluctant to seek professional help for stress even though they experience the health repercussions associated with it, such as problems sleeping (85%), headaches (75%) and high blood pressure (71%).
Just under two thirds (62%) said they recognised the link between physical symptoms and stress, however only 14% said they would speak to a medical professional when feeling stressed, instead preferring to talk to partners (46%), family (32%) or friends (29%). Just under half (43%) said they prefer to deal with stress privately.
Worryingly, the survey also revealed that a quarter ate to cope with stress (25%) and 14% turned to alcohol.
To help raise awareness and get people talking about stress with medical professionals, Cigna launched a ‘Seeing Stress Differently' campaign at the OXO Tower last night in London, featuring sports presenter Gabby Logan and a host of other speakers, including a mindfulness coach.
At the event, Logan talked through the research findings from a personal perspective, highlighting that we often look for cures to the symptoms of chronic stress rather than addressing the root cause.
Symptoms such as backache (29%), blurred eyesight or sore eyes (33%) and indigestion or heartburn (46%) are the least likely to be recognised as stress, the research suggested. These symptoms can often go undiagnosed and avoiding them can lead to increased risk of something more serious, such as cardiovascular disease.
"Life has definitely got more stressful for me in the past few years, juggling work, family and friends," said Gabby Logan. "With a never-ending to-do list of commitments, it can be difficult to take time for myself. This initiative is helping increase awareness around stress so that people recognise that serious chronic illnesses that can be avoided if recognised and diagnosed early. For me, nothing beats a quick 30-minute workout at the end of the day - preferably outside if the weather is okay!"
Also speaking at the event, Dr Peter Mills, Cigna medical director, added: "It's sad to say that I'm not shocked people are willing to accept physical symptoms of stress such as headaches and loss of libido without speaking to a medical professional. Whilst it is important to have a supportive social group during stressful times, the best person you can speak to is your doctor.
"When people fall into a habit of trying to treat the physical symptoms of stress, rather than the root cause, the results can have long term impact on their mental and physical health. That's why we need to adopt a more open approach to healthcare - and chronic stress in particular - that addresses both the physical and mental effects, or as I like to call it: Whole Person Health"
At the event, Logan demonstrated and tested Cigna endorsed stress visualisation technology which creates a digital art representation created by stress markers using wearable technology.
My personal stress portrait taken last night is pictured below.
Cool colours and calm textures suggest lower overall stress levels, while warm colours with turbulence indicate higher levels. Obviously the working week was starting to take its toll! Reassuringly, however, I am told that is a medium-to-low reading.
Earlier this year, Cigna's annual global 360 Global Well-Being Survey revealed that 87% of workers feel stressed and 12% feel their stress is unmanageable, perhaps connected to our ‘always on' culture in the workforce, while newer research has revealed that 87% of managers admit to having their work phone on them outside of office hours and when on annual leave, setting an unhealthy precedent for staff.
Down to life demands, not post-party recovery
Britain’s Healthiest Workplace 2019 study revealed
Diagnostics and direct referral
Top tips for employers
Freedom of information request shows