Is there something frightening you?
If you’re a member of UK society, the answer is probably a resounding “yes”. A recent poll of 2000 adults by the Mental Health Foundation revealed that 77% of the people interviewed found the world more frightening today than they did in 1999.
With figures like that in the news, it’s easy to understand why lifestyle magazines are full of headlines such as “Why you need to de-stress”, “Take time out” and “Cheap spa breaks”.
So what is it that most of us find so frightening about life in 21st century Britain?
Well, according to the menacingly entitled report “In the Face of Fear” (itself enough to send a tremor down your spine) the uncertain economic climate is only part of the reason that people are more afraid.
The charity found that other factors were also responsible for our current “culture of fear” – one of these being the “worst-case scenario language” often used by politicians, public bodies and pressure groups when discussing terrorism, swine flu and knife crime.
Another reason was, unsurprisingly, the omnipresent eye of the state in the guise of CCTV cameras. Rather than reassure people, these cameras “can actually make people feel more fearful” according to the report, as they suggest that there is something to be afraid of.
Other facts to emerge were that women were twice as likely as men to experience anxiety, and that people with stress-related disorders tended to be earning less money and to be divorced, separated or single. Young people were particularly prone to anxiety.
It all makes for worrying reading and highlights all too clearly the vital importance of keeping stress and depression at bay by seizing every opportunity to escape from the frenetic pace of modern life.
This could be by doing something as simple as walking round the park for half an hour – or it could mean treating yourself to a fabulous pampering weekend break.
As you luxuriate in a thermal spa pool, being lulled by the dulcet tones of Enya as the waves lap gently round your shoulders, the demands on the outside world will feel very far away. And the only thing you need fear is that your spa experience will come to an end too soon!