Losing smartphone is almost as stressful as terror threat

Sarah Knapton
The modern world has added new stresses to people's lives, such as the fear of losing a smartphone - This content is subject to copyright.

The prospect of losing a smartphone stresses people out almost as much as the fear of a terror attack, a new study has shown.

A report by The Physiological Society, asked 2,000 people to rate how stressful they found key events.

While obvious situations such as the death of a loved one, or becoming seriously ill scored highly, so did modern concerns such as identity theft, commuter delays and even going on holiday.

The threat of a terror attack came 13th on the list of stressful events, just one point above losing a smartphone, and well below planning a wedding, or moving house.

The findings also showed that women report higher stress levels than men, particularly surrounding the death of a loved one, illness, losing their smartphone and Brexit.

Moving house was also found to be more stressful than the fear of terrorism Credit: Simon Potter

Dr Lucy Donaldson, Chair of The Physiological Society's Policy Committee, said: "The modern world brings with it stresses we would not have imagined 50 years ago, such as social media and smartphones.

"It was striking that for every single event in this study, from money problems to Brexit, women reported greater stress levels than men. This could have a real impact on women's health.

"While many people are aware of the effect of stress on mental wellbeing, it is also important to consider the impact on the body's systems.

“Your brain, nervous and hormonal systems react to stress and it affects your heart, immune system and gastrointestinal system. When stress is prolonged, these effects on the whole body can result in illnesses such as ulcers or increased risk of heart attack."

The study was based on the Holmes and Rahe stress index which was compiled in 1967 to determine how different life events affect people. Although the death of a loved one topped both indexes, people today are far less concerned by divorce than they were in the 1960s.

Grief at the death of a loved one still tops the list of the most stressful life events  Credit: Johan Larson, Alamy

The findings also revealed that the most stressed area was is, while the least stressed was the South East of England. The East of England was notably upset by delays in their commutes, while Londoners were most sanguine about going on holiday.

Stress levels also appear to increase with age, with older people worrying far more about illness and imprisonment than younger people.

The Physiological Society said it hoped the study would raise awareness of the effect of stress on the body's function.

During stressful situations, the body prepares for action by releasing hormones into the bloodstream, which affects the heart as well as digestive and immune systems. Frequent and prolonged stress can cause long term physiological problems in the body.

Stressful events | The most stressful events ranked out of a top score of 10

 

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