TK study: Stress is a widespread problem in Germany
Stress is an everyday phenomenon that almost every adult knows today and many children already feel stressed. In a recent study, Techniker Krankenkasse (TK) investigated the occurrence of stress in the population, its causes, possible consequences and the most popular relaxation methods . Six out of ten adults suffer from stress, and one in four often feels stressed.
Are people in this country more stressed or do we just talk more about it? The Forsa polling institute examined these and other questions on behalf of the Techniker Krankenkasse for the current study. A high proportion of adults therefore regularly suffer from stress, with the stress caused by constant digital accessibility playing a role in many working people. But the large number of free time appointments also leads to stress for almost a third of those surveyed.
Stress also with positive aspects
In itself, stress is not necessarily bad. "From an evolutionary biological point of view, stress has always ensured that we can achieve top performance in emergency situations," explains Holger Stanislawski, ex-football coach and entrepreneur in a foreword to the current TK study. However, maximum performance also requires an increased use of energy and is therefore only healthy for a limited period of time. Those who do not regularly balance out can easily reach the limits of their resilience. Then the positive effects of stress lose their effect and those affected feel irritated, drained and overwhelmed, according to the TK.
1,200 people asked about their stress levels
For the representative study, 1,200 German-speaking people aged 18 and over were interviewed by the Forsa polling institute in June and July 2016 about their stress levels and their relaxation strategies in everyday life, leisure and work. The survey should clarify, among other things, what the current state of stress in the nation is, what stresses men, women, young, old, parents and singles in particular, how people relax and how satisfied they are with their lives, according to the TK. There was also the question of how a digital society and the world of work can be made healthy, where employers are challenged and what each individual can do.
Six out of ten adults are stressed
Despite falling weekly working hours, absenteeism due to psychological complaints such as depression, anxiety and stress disorders has increased by almost 90 percent in the past 15 years, reports the TK. "Six out of ten adults in this country are live, almost one in four even says that they are often stressed", the health insurance company continues. The most important stress factors in the current study were "the job (46 percent), high self-demands (43 percent), deadlines in leisure time (33 percent), road traffic (30 percent) and constant digital accessibility (28 percent)".
Accessibility after work is a considerable stress factor
According to the TK, the constant digital accessibility primarily affects working people. Three out of ten employees stated that their job required accessibility even after work or on vacation. Accordingly, the stress level was particularly high for them. 73 percent suffered from stress. Today, employees are required to be significantly more flexible because "digitization, the globalization of the markets and the requirement of customers to be able to do everything around the clock have changed our working world significantly in recent years," explains Dr. Jens Baas, CEO of TK: But if almost 30 percent of the employed state that they have to be available after work and on vacation, then something is going wrong in the company organization. "That doesn't speak for a healthy corporate culture," says Baas.
What are the most popular relaxation activities?
The study by the TK also reveals some quite pleasing aspects. After all, 40 percent of those surveyed said they rarely or never felt stressed. In addition, almost half of those surveyed used sport as compensation. However, lazing around, meeting friends and family and other hobbies are still the most popular relaxation activities (seven out of ten respondents). According to the TK, walking and listening to music use six out of ten adults and 36 percent relax through voluntary work. "A third reaches for the bottle and relaxes with wine or beer," reports the TK. Recognized relaxation methods such as yoga or autogenic training, however, would only be used by 13 percent of those surveyed.
Digital relaxation is becoming increasingly popular
For almost 30 percent of those surveyed, digital relaxation using computer games or social networks was a popular method. Here, "there were blatant differences between the age groups," reports TK expert Peter Wendt. Almost half of the 18- to 39-year-olds like to spend their working hours online and for the 40- to 59-year-olds it is just under a quarter. "At least for those who already spend their working day in front of the screen, this is not a strategy that we would recommend," emphasizes Dr. Baas. Anyone who spends the end of the day in the same passive posture in front of the flickering screen as they did the working day before will not find a balance here.
Stress greatest at age under 40
Overall, the stress level is highest among adults under the age of 40, reports the TK. Three out of four respondents are stressed here and only five percent in this age group have no stress. “Fortunately, most of them are so healthy at a young age that the stress is not so noticeable. But especially in view of the multiple burdens and the long working life that lies ahead, regular balancing is important, ”emphasizes the TK board chairman.
Occupational stress can also inspire
According to the TK, 43 percent of the working population feel that they have been worked off and used up. Although this is mainly expressed by employees of higher working age, 37 percent of employees under the age of 40 already know the feeling. Overall, almost a fifth of working people are worried about not being able to keep up with the pace of work. However, stress at work is not equally stressful for all respondents. After all, 42 percent of the respondents stated that occupational stress spurs them on rather than stresses them.
Corporate culture for healthy working
"Whether you perceive stress as a challenge or a burden obviously depends on whether you have a task that is fun," explains the telecommunications expert Peter Wendt. At least 70 percent of the working population can say this about their work, just under a quarter see the job only as a living and for every twentieth working person the work is pure frustration. According to the TK boss, state regulations to reduce the stress level in the company are the wrong way. "We need a corporate culture in the factories that enables people to work healthily, regenerate and reconcile family and work," says Baas. This also includes "that the end of work is always available." (Fp)