Work worries put Germans and British top in global stress league

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Germans are the most regularly stressed-out people in the world, while the British are most likely to say their lifestyle makes them feel they are losing control, according to a poll released yesterday.

One thousand people in nine industrialised nations - Australia, Canada, France, Italy, Germany, Mexico, South Korea, Spain, Britain and the US - were asked to rate the levels of stress they feel they suffer from.

The survey, conducted by the international polling company Ipsos for the Associated Press, found that just over half of Germans said they "frequently" felt stressed, the highest percentage of any of the countries polled. Thirty-seven per cent blamed their job.

While the British reported having experienced less frequent bouts of stress than Germans, the Britain had the highest percentage of citizens claiming the levels of stress they suffered made them feel life was "beyond control."

The Spanish emerged the most relaxed of all Europeans, with 29 per cent of respondents saying they felt frequently over-worked. The overall least stressed nation, however, was Mexico. Despite being far poorer than the other nations questioned, Mexico had the lowest number of people feeling uncomfortably under pressure, with only 15 per cent of people frequently stressed.

Significantly in a country where 50 million live below the poverty line, Mexicans were far more likely to cite financial worries as the major contributing factor to stress, whereas richer countries were generally more concerned about the employment market.