April 25, 2011 07:24
Koreans are growing increasingly stressed and less happy with their lives, according to a study. The Korean Neuropsychiatric Association interviewed 1,000 adult Koreans this year and found that 26.2 percent suffer from high levels of stress while scoring 68.1 points on the happiness scale, which is a failing grade.
◆ Job Stress
Problems in the workplace are the greatest source of stress, according to the study, especially among young men. "Unlike home, the workplace is a source of constant stress," said Jeong Do-un, a neurologist at Seoul National University Hospital. "Job-related stress seems especially common among men, since they're mostly the breadwinners and young men feel pressure as they have to compete to survive in a tough job market."
Experts say advances in communications technology have made people's personal matters more accessible to others, and that increases stress levels even more.
◆ High Suicide Rate
Stress can lead to suicide. Korea already has the highest suicide rate in the world, and the trend is growing worse. Four students at the prestigious Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology committed suicide already this year due to academic pressure, and a professor at the school also took his own life.
Experts say spring is the season for suicides, due to changes that happen to many people during that transition period. People suffering from excessive stress are advised to consult a physician.
Most people in the study cited exercise, drink, chat, or sleep as things they do to relieve stress. Men tend to drink, while women usually prefer talking to friends. But 48.3 percent of the adults in the study said they cope with stress by themselves. Experts recommend sharing problems and worries. Jeong at SNU Hospital said, "The best way to get rid of stress is to move your body. People who exercise regularly have a better chance of overcoming stress than those who don't."
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