“Smart technologies like phones and watches have resulted in many of being bombarded with information that can cause us to worry about things that we wouldn’t have even known about in the past” – Neil Shah, The Stress Management Society

A recent survey by Nelsons, one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of natural healthcare products, has discovered that 86 percent of adults consider themselves to be a worrier, with the average adult spending the equivalent of almost a month of every year fretting about something and with work-related issues found to be the most likely cause.

The research revealed that the average adult spends an average of one hour and 50 minutes fretting about something each day – a total of 12 hours and 53 minutes a week or almost 28 days of each year. Everyone worries about different things at different times, but it is work that has been rated top, followed by money, being late for something, the health of a friend of relative and their own health concerns.

While more than a third (34%) are happy to share their concerns with others, one in four admit they always keep their concerns bottled up. As a result, 72 percent reckon they would worry less if they shared their concerns with others more often.

Neil Shah, from the Stress Management Society, feels that the research reflects the issues created by the modern workplace.

‘In modern life, the demands made on us are increasing,” Shah commented. “The rate and flow of information due to the changing ways we communicate and smart technologies like phones and watches have resulted in many of being bombarded with information that can cause us to worry about things that we wouldn’t have even known about in the past.”

“For example you receive a complaint, or a message from a manager adding to your workload, by email, pop up on your phone at 9pm and you end up losing sleep over it! In the past you wouldn’t even find out about it until you got to work in the morning and had the opportunity to immediately address it. In addition we spend the bulk of our time worrying about scenarios that may not actually happen! When it comes to worrying the actual concern represents 10 percent of the situation, the remaining 90 percent is how you react to it. React positively and you will find that its impact is far less detrimental!”

However, as Shah is aware, this is not always easy when confronted with demanding or stressful circumstances. Below are listed the top thirty worries for people in the UK, with work firmly at the top.

Top 30 worries

  1. Work
  2. Financial worries
  3. Being late
  4. A relative or friend’s bad health
  5. Bad health
  6. Relationships
  7. Missing a plane/train/bus
  8. Not waking up for alarm
  9. Appearance
  10. Family safety
  11. Eating too much
  12. Dental problems
  13. Whether or not people like you
  14. Pet’s health
  15. Missing out on life experience
  16. Growing old alone
  17. Children staying healthy
  18. Remember everything you need to do
  19. Parents ageing and needing care
  20. Being a victim of crime
  21. Terrorism
  22. The Economy
  23. Pension plan
  24. What to wear at work
  25. Being single
  26. Partner having an affair
  27. Drinking too much
  28. Getting a mortgage
  29. Children getting a good education
  30. Hair loss


Nelson’s ‘Rescue Remedy Survey’ was carried out by 72 Point in July 2015 and sampled 1,000 participants.





James Marsh is an HR consultant and currently leads the editorial team at HRreview.

An avid HR blogger and tweeter on HR and management issues, James has worked as an HR manager, consultant, in-house recruiter and trainer and has expertise in both management strategy and HR policies and processes. He has a BA from the University of Nottingham in American Studies, a Masters in Human Resource Management from the University of Westminster and is a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

James is also the regular chairperson of HRreview's series of webinars that discuss and debate the latest HR trends and issues, InsideHR.