The majority of Britons do nothing to combat stress, instead opting to live with it, thereby risking potential mental health problems, according to a study carried out by the Mental Health Foundation.
The survey discovered that although half of respondents admitted they felt stressed at least once a week - with one in five (21%) suffering from the condition every day - nearly two-thirds (63%) admitted they would not take any steps to deal with stress.
The study also revealed that 30% opted to spend time alone to combat stress, while 26% ate comfort food in order to cope.
According to the Mental Health Foundation, the best way to actively manage stress is to remain sociable and talk about problems, eat healthily and practise mindfulness - a combination of meditation, yoga and breathing techniques.
Dr Andrew McCulloch, chief executive of the foundation, said: “The economic costs of unmanaged stress are huge and increasing - 11 million lost working days a year at the last count - while the personal costs for those who experience it, and their families and friends, is of equal concern.
“Unmanaged stress can additionally develop into mental health problems, such as depression, as well as increasing the risk of physical problems, such as heart disease.”
GP Dr Jonty Heaversedge said: “Stress is becoming increasingly common in these troubled economic times, and a problem I am seeing more and more amongst my patients.
“The clinical evidence for mindfulness as an effective method of stress reduction is compelling and, like eating well and taking regular exercise, it is a healthy way in which people can manage their stress so that it doesn’t end up taking over their lives or developing into a more serious mental illness.”
The research was not immediately available online.