Why are Singaporeans so stressed
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Why are Singaporeans so stressed?

A 2022 wellness survey conducted by healthcare company OSIM revealed that 72% of working Singaporeans experienced stress at moderate to high levels.

According to the OSIM poll, some of the top stressors for Singaporeans are health and financial issues.

While work can be a cause of stress, other age groups in the survey also cite stressful circumstances outside the office or workplace.

92% of working Singaporeans reported being stressed in 2019

92% of working Singaporeans reported being stressed in 2019

The OSIM survey revealed that some common sources of stress among Singaporeans include health, financial matters, COVID-related reasons, and other factors.

Supporting this claim, a 2019 Cigna 360 Well-Being Survey showed that 92% of working respondents claimed to be stressed. Please note that this survey was before the pandemic cases and lockdowns in Singapore, so COVID wasn’t a factor yet. 

SIDE NOTE: How different is a stressful situation from an anxiety disorder? Let’s take a closer look.

Stress is a response to a situation that the person finds threatening, while anxiety is a sustained disorder that could be triggered by a stressful event. The latter needs to be addressed professionally by a psychiatrist.

Why are Singaporeans stressed?

Why are Singaporeans stressed

Being a Singaporean can be quite stressful.

A 2021 Milieu Insight survey found that 20% of Singaporean respondents felt they can’t handle stress very well. 67% of them also revealed that they have a hard time turning down extra work even if they’re already overworked.

So it isn’t just those living in Singapore without a job who feel anxiety and stress about employment. Jobs (or the lack thereof) can be stressful, but there are other causes for stress too.

Stress Chart

Financial reasons are cited as the biggest stressor

Financial reasons are cited as the biggest stressor

With the cost of living being so high in Singapore, it makes sense that a lot of Singaporeans cite financial reasons as their main cause of stress. This could include monthly payables including bills and loans.

Financial worries are the main reason for stress across all the age groups involved in the OSIM survey. Surprisingly, the millennial respondents between the ages of 26 and 41 made up 51% of those who claim finances as their main stress trigger.

It doesn’t help that home rentals in Singapore are some of the highest all over the world. The loss of a job or a sudden health issue could affect one’s life savings in a snap, which is worrying for a lot of working Singaporeans.

COVID restrictions also cause stress

COVID restrictions also cause stress

COVID restrictions and lockdowns are in place to ensure everybody’s health and security. But it’s also been a lead cause of stress, especially among 58% of the OSIM survey respondents. 

Cabin fever and the lack of social interactions have made a significant portion of the Singaporean population feel stressed about COVID safe management measures.

18% felt that not having family or friends visit them made their HDB stay more prison-like. Meanwhile, 22% felt that being restricted to dine out and eat in restaurants is a cause of mental and emotional toll.

Watching TV and social media are often used to reduce stress

Watching TV and social media are often used to reduce stress

As a way to cope with stress, 69% of survey respondents turned to television programmes and streaming services like Netflix for entertainment. Six out of ten of this percentage were in the 56 to 70-year-old age group.

Social media was also a favourite de-stressing activity, particularly among Gen Z-ers and millennials.

The downside is that social media also became a prime source of stress among 21% of millennial respondents.