Stress 'pushes families over the edge'

The average couple now falls out four times a week, with over-spending, a lack of help around the house and paying bills the most likely triggers, according to a new study.

The average couple now falls out four times a week, with over-spending, a lack of help around the house and paying bills the most likely triggers, according to a new study.

Six in ten of the 2,000 adults polled said stress 'tips them over the edge' and sparks fights with loved ones, which wouldn't happen under normal circumstances.

Feeling worked up is also affecting parents' relationships with their kids, causing a slump in productivity at work and putting couples’ sex lives on hold. 

One in four said stress had led them to 'hitting the bottle' and one in five have ‘become depressed’. 

The study was commissioned by leading health and wellbeing mutual Benenden Healthcare Society. 

Karin Mochan, editor of benhealth magazine, the quarterly title for Benenden, said: ''There's no doubt that many of us feel the effects of stress in our everyday lives, resulting in a major impact on our personal relationships and work lives. 'Twelve million people go to their GP every year with mental health problems and they're often stress related. These rising stress levels are partly due to the fast pace of modern life and the demands that our jobs, families and financial responsibilities place on us.

''When we feel unable to cope with these demands, stress can start to show itself in a number of ways. Symptoms can be both physical and psychological – and so knowing what to look for can be an important step towards finding a solution.''

The study of 2,000 people aged between 18 and 65 quizzed them on their stress levels; what gets them worked up, what it affects and how they deal with it. It found a third rated their stress levels as 'quite high', while seven per cent said 'very high'. The majority said it was 'normal', while a lucky one in six said it was 'low or very low'.

A quarter said they have 'gone days' without talking to their partner and more than half said it's a 'vicious circle'. The survey found anxiety isn't just causing fights amongst loved ones, but is affecting many areas of people's lives. One in five have avoided sex with their partner because they have too much on their mind. Daily pressures has lowered the libido of nearly half of those polled (43 per cent).

Two thirds of adults said they experience the most stress at work while a third said they felt most pressure at home. Four in ten were in agreement that Monday is the most stressful day of the week and they feel anxious at least four times a day and for 35 minutes in total. Feeling down about their figure, the laborious daily commute and kids running riot also put a strain on adults' lives. Heavy workloads (24 per cent), the nature of their job (18 per cent) and tight deadlines (14 per cent) stress workers out the most.

The majority (27 per cent) end up turning to alcohol to forget about their worries, a quarter watch TV and the same number end up having a rant at someone. 23 per cent reach for comfort food. It also emerged 22 per cent tend to talk to no-one about what's playing on their minds, while husbands are on the receiving end the majority of the time. One in ten offload their worries to work colleagues. One in five have had to take time off work due to their stress levels, not making it to behind their desk on at least six occasions in the last 12 months. Half have felt like they have been unable to cope with the amount of stress they were under – with 22 per cent currently suffering.

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