Home Mental Health & Well-Being Nearly Half of UK Adults Feel Unable to Cope with Stress, New Study Reveals

Nearly Half of UK Adults Feel Unable to Cope with Stress, New Study Reveals

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Extensive research into the health and well-being of the nation also shows that more than half (54%) often have difficulty sleeping and feel close to burning out (52%).

The Kalmfulness Index, a landmark study conducted with over 3,700 respondents, has revealed that nearly half of adults (46%) living in the UK often feel stressed and unable to cope. The workplace is a key cause of stress, with more than 1 in 3 (38%) struggling to balance their work and home lives, including taking care of family members. The burden of financial strain also continues to take its toll on UK adults, with over half (53%) saying they are under consistent stress due to the cost of living.

The in-depth study, conducted by Kalms Herbal Remedies to coincide with National Kalmfulness Week (20–26 November), asked participants to assess their health, emotional well-being and quality of life, to help identify their perceived ‘kalmfulness.’ A newly coined term, ‘kalmfulness’ has been defined as the ‘the state or quality of being kalm, peaceful and untroubled in the midst of daily life’. The study considered financial struggles, hours of sleep achieved, daily commutes, quality time with close relationships and more. 

Elizabeth Hughes-Gapper, a spokesperson for Kalms noted: “Over the last few years, our lives have become more anxious and stressful. We’ve braved a global pandemic only to be faced with a challenging economic situation, political and military conflict, and the on-going strains of 21st century living. That’s why we launched The Kalmfulness Index – to learn how UK adults are really coping and make recommendations on how we can support the nation to become more ‘kalmful’.”

As a result of too much stress, the study revealed nearly half of respondents (48%) suffer from sleepless nights, posing a serious threat to their physical and mental health. In fact, 46% of UK adults admit to functioning on dangerously low levels of sleep – less than six hours per night – and 52% often feel exhausted or close to burning out.

Psychologist and psychotherapist Dr Charlotte Armitage explained: “This survey shows how years of feeling stressed, overwhelmed and uncertain has impacted our lives. That nearly half of people (46%) still don’t prioritise their emotional well-being is shocking. Looking after our mental health is not something we should just do when feeling low or anxious; it’s something we should proactively maintain, just like our physical health.

“Dedicating just a few minutes a day to kalmfulness can help maintain mental well-being, potentially reducing feelings of stress, anxiety and exhaustion. As people spend time practicing kalmfulness, they’ll probably notice themselves feeling calmer and more patient. Often, they are better able to manage concerns about the future as they have better tolerance levels to cope with everyday stresses. And over time, as you stay on top of your mental health, it may even reduce the risk of physical health problems too.”

Dr Charlotte Armitage gives her top five tips to help make yourself and your mental well-being a priority:

  • Get outside. The study suggests over a third of UK adults (37%) find solace in the healing power of nature. When we spend time in nature, we can disconnect from everyday stressors, technology and social interactions, giving us time to recharge our mind and bodies. Research suggests just 10 to 15 minutes in natural spaces can cause neurological changes in our brains and chemical changes in our blood that contribute to stress reduction and recovery. If you can’t get outside, bring nature to you. Houseplants have been shown to boost mood, concentration and productivity.
  • Establish healthier habits. Diet, exercise, and sleep are the three pillars for a healthy life. While improving just one of these lifestyle factors can help people lead longer lives, improving all three may be beneficial for both physical and mental health. Try to get at least 7 hours of sleep a night, find 20 to 30 minutes a day to exercise, and stick to foods that love your body back.
  • Find time to be alone. The study shows that 36% of UK adults think that alone time is a healthy way to boost mental well-being, allowing us to recharge and destress. If you are thinking of spending some time alone, it is important to do so in ways that are beneficial to your mental well-being. It can be as simple as practicing self-care, exploring a favourite hobby or reading a book. Whatever it is, be sure to turn off social media. Your focus should be on your own thoughts and interests and not on what other people are doing.
  • Talk to someone. Having open conversations with others is invaluable for well-being and can help induce a more kalmful state of mind. It provides emotional support, diverse perspectives, validation, and helps us to develop coping strategies. If you need someone to talk to, friends and family are one option. Online forums, support groups, therapists, and clubs can also be helpful.”
  • Try a herbal remedy. The results from the study found that 28% of UK adults have sought to increase their understanding and usage of herbal medicines. Natural medicines have been used to improve our health and well-being for generations and can help to induce relaxation during times of distress. For example, valerian root has sleep-inducing, calming effects, while pharmaceutical-grade lavender oil capsules are associated with reduced anxiety and the use of rhodiola rosea extract offers improvement in burnout symptoms. If you want to try a herbal medicine, always consult your doctor or pharmacist first and look out for a traditional herbal registration (THR) – this means the medicine complies with quality standards.

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