According to Cigna Corporation, almost 82 percent of India’s population are suffering from stress and those in the sandwich generation (aged 35-49) are most affected with around 89 percent reporting some level of stress.
The major causes of stress in the country today are work, health, and finance related issues, says the results of the 2019 Cigna 360 Well-Being Survey – Well and Beyond.
A major finding of concern is that India has witnessed an alarming rise in the occurrence of heart disease and stroke in the past 25 years.
The Survey reveals that stress levels in India remain very high compared to other developed and emerging countries such as the USA, UK, Germany, France and Australia.
Thus, it is extremely important to increase awareness about a heart-healthy lifestyle for everyone, and not just for people with existing health problem to reduce the risk of heart disease and improve quality of wellbeing”, says Prasun Sikdar, MD and Chief Executive Officer, Cigna TTK Health Insurance
Despite India’s relatively healthy wellness numbers, there are many ways to further improve workplace wellness programs. Starting with the prioritisation of mental well-being and implementation of flexible work arrangements, taking into account how working women differ with regards to their stage in life, and single women’s needs differ from those who are married and those with children.
Contrary to global findings, in India men (85%) are more stressed than working women (82%). However, when it comes to unmanageable stress, both men and women fare the same at 5%. Similar to other markets, the majority of women (87%) think that workplace wellness programmes need to better address the specific needs of each gender, while 63% feel that senior management do not seriously support these programmes. Top causes of stress for women are too much work, family finance concerns and personal health concerns.
Compared to other generations, the Indian sandwich generation (aged 35-49) report the lowest scores across the overall index and are particularly concerned about their physical, finance and work wellness, underscoring the need to address the stress levels and pressures of this generation, the core workforce in the coming years.
89% of this segment deal with stress, compared to 87% of millennials and 64% of the age 50+ group. As a result, maintaining a healthy weight is a challenge for them with only half able to maintain a healthy weight compared to 58% of millennials and 55% of the older segment.
Less than half think they are doing well financially. They question their financial ability to meet their parents’ medical needs. Only 51% feel confident about their ability compared to 58% of millennials and 62% of those 50+.
Globally, only 36% claim to have a workplace wellness program; in India 66% claim to have one and 56% participate. However, 71% feel that these programmes concentrate on physical health at the expense of mental well-being. 71% receive employer support for stress, with a 59% satisfaction rate (“they think the support is adequate”) compared to 28% globally. There is room for improvement still, given that 85% work in an “always on” culture, higher than the global average of 64%.
96% of respondents feel that colleagues’ stress has impacted the workplace compared to the global average of 91%. Interestingly, in India, the key impacts lean towards the positive and differ from global sentiments.
Noticing their colleagues’ stress make Indians more conscious about managing their own stress and make them more caring towards each other contrary to global findings where people cite a depressing work atmosphere, lower morale and less productivity as the key impacts. It looks like Indian employers are doing something right, with people feeling more satisfied and less pessimistic than their global counterparts.
“It’s extremely worrying that 1 in 3 people don’t think high blood pressure is curable with lifestyle change, as these silent conditions can lead to a deadly heart attack or stroke if untreated,'' said the report..