About how much stress do you feel on a day-to-day basis? graph of japanese statisticsAhh, stress in Japan, I could write a book on it, but look, I’ve just got far too many things on my plate piling up already and I just can’t take my attention away from them and will you stop asking me to write more on it as I am planning on getting round to it but it’s rather difficult finding the time and I love my family more than my blogging; is that a crime? as you seem to be suggesting but then MyVoice published the results of a survey on stress.


Over the first five days of July 2007 13,030 members of the MyVoice internet community completed a private internet-based questionnaire. 54% of the sample was male, 2% in their teens, 18% in their twenties, 39% in their thirties, 27% in their forties, and 14% aged fifty or older.

One cold shower and two cold beers later: stress, and its darker cousin depression, is a serious problem in Japan, I feel, but not one that is very well understood. For example, a health-related magazine I read had a wee depression comic strip: guy transfers to a new devision as a team leader, gets under pressure and tries to live up to unreasonable expectations, working all hours, getting irritated and other classic symptoms. He goes to to talk to his old boss (over reasonable quantities of sake, of course) who tells him to not be so diligent and learn to delegate. And they all lived happily ever after. Ooh, and don’t get me started on reading advice from someone who should know better that ciggies and booze can relieve some stress.

I also wonder how much stress affects men in the trouser department, an unasked question below, as I suspect working on stress reduction (and fatigue reduction too) by for instance rationalising working hours could have a noticeable positive effect on the birth rate. Of course, I realise that changing the current working system is effectively impossible, but we have to have our dreams.

Research results

Q1: About how much stress do you feel on a day-to-day basis? (Sample size=13,030)

Feel a lot of stress 24.6%
Feel some stress 54.3%
Don’t feel much stress 17.6%
Hardly feel stress at all 3.5%

Q2: When or where do you feel stress? (Sample size=13,030, multiple answer)

Work or school inter-personal relationships 51.2%
Money-related issues 38.3%
Family relations, home environment 33.3%
Work or study matters 27.4%
In-laws 19.7%
Child rearing, education 19.0%
Housework-related day-to-day issues 17.6%
Relationships with friends 14.6%
Relationships with neighbours 14.2%
Commuting 8.3%
Relationships with the other sex (love, etc) 7.9%
Looking after parents, grandparents 4.4%
Promotion 4.4%
Exams (personal or children) 3.8%
Gift-giving, celebration related 2.4%
Other 10.9%
Nothing in particular 3.5%
No answer 0.1%

Q3: When do you feel the most stress? (Sample size=13,030)

Work or school inter-personal relationships 31.3%
Money-related issues 13.0%
Family relations, home environment 11.0%
Work or study matters 11.9%
Child rearing, education 7.1%
In-laws 4.7%
Relationships with neighbours 3.0%
Housework-related day-to-day issues 2.8%
Relationships with friends 2.3%
Relationships with the other sex (love, etc) 1.8%
Looking after parents, grandparents 1.6%
Commuting 1.4%
Exams (personal or children) 0.9%
Promotion 0.5%
Gift-giving, celebration related 0.2%
Other 6.0%
No answer 0.3%

Q4: What symptoms occur when you feel stress? (Sample size=13,030, multiple answer)

Get irritated easily 56.0%
Can’t sleep, shallow sleep 35.0%
No energy 30.8%
Stomach gets upset 29.3%
Cannot concentrate 22.9%
Headaches, dizziness 17.3%
Over eating, over drinking 15.1%
Cannot shake off sleepiness, cannot get out of bed 14.5%
Back pain, stiff shoulders 13.5%
Smoke more cigarettes 11.8%
Poor skin condition 9.5%
Drink more 9.0%
Difficulty in breathing, chest pains 8.0%
Feel like vomiting 7.5%
No appetite 6.5%
Cold extremities, sweatiness 5.5%
Hives or other allergy symptoms 5.4%
Hair falling out 4.6%
Skip school or work, stay in room 3.4%
Convulsions in body parts 2.3%
Be generous 0.5%
Other 3.5%
Nothing in particular 8.9%
No answer 0.5%

Q5: How do you manage stress? (Sample size=13,030, multiple answer)

Get lots of sleep, lunchtime nap 29.0%
Eat delicious or favourite foods 26.0%
Talk to friends 22.9%
Talk to family 20.2%
Go shopping 20.1%
Drink alcohol 17.9%
Watch a film, drama 16.2%
Soak in the tub, take a shower 14.2%
Read a book 13.4%
Do sports or exercise 13.0%
Play computer games 12.6%
Go on a trip 9.9%
Experience the natural environment 9.4%
Go for a walk 9.2%
Play with pet 9.0%
Go to karaoke or other place to shout 7.7%
Go for a drive 6.9%
Go for a massage, relaxation salon, etc 6.7%
Spend some time with my family 6.3%
Write stuff on blog, bulletin board, SNS etc 6.0%
Take sleeping pills, tranquilizers 5.1%
Go to the hospital 4.8%
Gamble on the horses, pachinko, etc 4.6%
Vent frustrations on others 4.6%
Talk to someone at work, school 3.9%
Go to a barber, hair salon 2.9%
Immerse myself in work 2.9%
See a counsellor 1.4%
Other 7.1%
Don’t do anything in particular 15.8%
No answer 0.4%

Q6: About how much do you spend per month managing stress? (Sample size=those who manage stress, multiple answer)

Nothing 28.4%
Up to 1,000 yen 8.8%
1,000 to 3,000 yen 14.5%
3,000 to 5,000 yen 14.2%
5,000 to 7,000 yen 6.6%
7,000 to 10,000 yen 9.9%
10,000 to 15,000 yen 7.8%
15,000 to 20,000 yen 3.2%
20,000 to 30,000 yen 3.0%
30,000 to 50,000 yen 1.6%
More than 50,000 yen 1.4%
No answer 0.6%


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