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Kiwis spend more than a week out of every year worrying - survey

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Active+, one of New Zealand’s largest multi-disciplinary rehabilitation suppliers has released the results of a survey looking into the issues that New Zealanders are worrying about on a daily basis.

The survey found that 70 percent of Kiwis spend at least half an hour per day worrying, with 38.76 percent topping more than two hours. Over the course of the year, that means that most people are losing 7.5 days to stress and worry.

According to the study of 835 people, anxiety (76%) is the number one health issue bothering New Zealanders, followed by excess weight (41.49%), depression (39.89%), fatigue (38.83%), headaches (34.57%), muscular/joint pain (32.45%) and backache (30%).

The survey also found that Kiwis like to use Google to research symptoms. Depression was far ahead at 13.47 percent, followed by back pain (2.59), cancer (2.59%), fatigue (2.59%), toothache (2.59%), and rashes (2.07%).

"It comes as no surprise that anxiety is at the top of the list," explains Corne Mackie, Active+ Director. "It is one of the most common officially classified mental illnesses, after depression. One in 4 New Zealanders will be affected by an anxiety disorder at some stage in their lives, and at any one time, 15 percent of the population will be affected. Google searches for anxiety are up 150 percent in the past eight years.

"That could be because people are becoming more comfortable with discussing their mental health. However, it is likely also because of the faster paced lives we are leading."

Along with health issues, Active+ asked participants about their non-health worries. Finances (75.42%), getting everything done (49.16%) and work (41.34%) were at the top of this list, followed by relationships (39.66%), their appearance (34.08%) and eating too much (32.96%).

Despite the prominence of anxiety in the responses, the survey did find that New Zealanders are generally proactive when it comes to dealing with stress. Only 7.82 percent do nothing at all, with the remainder employing various tactics from spending time with friends/family (58.10%), exercise (53.63%), hobbies (26.26%), talking to a professional (21.23%), meditation (12.29%) and yoga (8.38%).

"It’s normal to be anxious and to worry from time to time. It’s part of a completely natural set of emotions, so we would never want to talk about eliminating it entirely," says Corne. "It’s how you manage it that is important."

"The best approach will vary according to the individual, but many people benefit from exercising, meditating or simply enjoying a relaxing daily ritual, or spending time with friends and family," she adds. "However, if you feel like your anxiety is overwhelming or impacts on your day to day functioning, then you should speak to a professional, who can advise you on the best steps to take."

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