By The Nation
NEARLY HALF of Bangkok’s residents are losing their happiness due to stress, with bread-and-butter problems ranking among the most common causes. Bangkokians were also found to be less happy overall in comparison to people living in other provinces.
These conclusions come from surveys conducted by the Mental Health Department. Bangkok residents were surveyed between July and August this year, while people in other provinces were surveyed in 2015.
“Of the 2,261 Bangkok respondents, 45 per cent showed an abnormal level of stress,” Mental Health Department’s director-general Sqn Leader Boonruang Triruang-worawat revealed yesterday.
It is normal for people to have a certain level of stress, but this should not go beyond level 4 in a stress-assessment scale, he said.
However, the survey found that nearly half of the adults living in Bangkok had stress levels of five to 15.
“About 8 per cent have recorded stress at between 10 and 15, which means they are extremely stressed out,” Boonruang said.
Targeting Bangkokians between 15 to 60 of age, the survey covered students, civil servants, workers, vendors, company employees and the unemployed. The largest group of respondents held a Bachelor’s degree and earned between Bt25,001 and Bt35,000 a month.
Thaweesak Sirirutraykha, who heads the Bangkok Mental Health Office Centre, said the survey found that the biggest causes of stress were financial problems and rising living expenses. Other causes, he said, were anxiety, family problems, excessive news consumption and interpersonal relationships.
“Nearly one in four respondents suffer sleep disorders due to stress,” he revealed, adding that stress made some respondents frustrated, others irritable, while some preferred to stay away from people.
When asked how they dealt with stress, 20.92 per cent said they tried to accept their problems, while 15.80 per cent opted for watching movies or television. Another 8.56 per cent chose to visit temples to make merit, while some 6.62 per cent worked out their frustrations in the gym and some 5.52 per cent preferred to go travelling. Only 4.99 per cent tried to find a friend to talk to.
Boonruang said judging by the 2015 survey of people outside the capital, Bangkokians were certainly less happy.
“Our 2015 survey found 83.6 per cent of people living in the provinces were happy, but in the Bangkok survey, only 67.89 per cent were happy,” he said.
The happiness level of about 32.11 per cent of Bangkok participants was lower than normal.
“We hope to boost happiness for all Thais,” Boonruang said.
“Our goal is to make Thailand the 26th happiest nation in the world by 2036. When people are happy, their work performance improves and so does their immunity. When people are happy, society also becomes pleasant.”
Earlier this year, Thailand fell several places in the world’s happiness rankings. The latest World Happiness Report ranked Thailand 46th, dropping from 32nd last year, while Finland emerged as the “happiest nation” in the world.