Mental, HEALTH

A study analyses Spaniards' life burdens

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Submitting to the pressure of the majority, to the expectations of what everyone else is doing, to the inertia of how the masses act, to the influence of how people think.... weighs heavily. It weighs more than we realise.

In the professional and personal sphere, decisions are made every day that can have a direct influence on the way of life of each person and that, if they are not taken with one's own well-being in mind, can represent great "burdens" in life.

This burden translates into something tangible, namely a large rucksack of life that, on average, weighs Spaniards about 32.5 kg. And we know this thanks to the algorithm created from the "Estudio las cargas de la mochila de los españoles", signed by the IO Research Institute* for 1906 Beers.

According to this research, the vital weight that Spaniards believe they carry in their backpack is 46.8 kg on average, whereas their actual weight calculated from the 1906 algorithm is 32.5 kg, there is a difference between the perceived and actual weight of 14 kg.. In this context, women are more likely than men to feel that they carry more weight in their life backpacks.

Mathematician Macarena Estévez, who is responsible for developing the algorithm, explains the process: "Once the theoretical framework from which to calculate the weight of the backpack was clear, the data was analysed and this algorithm was developed to estimate the numerical value of the weight of the backpack and extrapolate it to a real scale. A series of models were run to validate the theoretical framework. One model to measure which constraints condition us and how much each one conditions us, distinguishing between two types of conditions. Another to check that satisfaction and compliance depend on the level of how conditioned we are. And finally, a model that proves that people who are more satisfied and less satisfied see more solutions."

This social experiment, which tries to obtain the real weight that each person carries throughout his or her life, has as its main objective to convey the importance of independent, critical thinking outside the norms established by the majority.

The heaviest burdens: those related to personal life

Approximately 2 out of 3 Spaniards state that they are, above all, the partner (67%) or the family (64%) are the most important determinants of their life choices. The personal aspects that weigh most heavily on them are mainlynot having time for themselves (57%), fighting with their family and/or partner (56%), wasting time in transport and traffic jams (56%), doing the same thing every day, wasting time in shops and queues (54%), and having to spend too much time on household chores (51%).

In the professional sphere, 1 in 2 respondents say that they have put up with a bad boss (53%) and support a toxic work environment (50,4%) has weighed on them and is a burden they carry.

According to the study, it is the youngest who carry the heaviest weight in their backpacks, followed by those in work and those with lower incomes.

Behaviour and rules

Decision making is influenced by factors such as group opinion where 53% of Spaniards confirm that they adopt behaviours and opinions of people they admire and/or respect.followed by 47% which supports following group opinions to achieve a given goal.

Guided by social pressure almost 1 in 3 respondentsThe majority of the women are women, have hidden their true opinions out of a need for approval. This is followed by those who have lied about their sex life (15%), lied about not watching TV programmes (14%) or lied to make themselves look more attractive (13%). As far as rules are concerned, 29% of Spaniards say that it is important to comply with them and 39% say that they are correctly observed.                   

"In our research we sought to understand who dares to challenge social mandates more and who conforms more to the rules and limits imposed on us by life in society: do women or men conform more, is socio-economic status a determinant in our perception of the rules and the consequences of breaking them, and is it the socio-economic level that determines our perception of the rules and the consequences of breaking them? Furthermore, we conjectured that people "feel the weight" of the obligations imposed on us by society and that social constraints translate into a daily discomfort, which, although invisible, is felt by everyone".he declares Elisa García MingoSociologist.

How can this weight be lightened?

The main conditioning factor why 1 in 3 Spaniards do not do what they want in life is due to factors such as fear of hurting or harming other people.

But what would lighten your life bag? According to this study, el 56% of the Spaniards would feel lighter if they had themselves as a priority, and the 54% would release charges learning to say "no" without fear. The 51% would lower the weight of its backpacks if it could decide their own schedules and the 50% if I learned to not to keep things quiet.  Below 50%, it would make them feel lighter not to explain their actions or decisions to anyone (49%), to worry less about what people will say (44%) and to eat whatever they feel like (42%).

You can also find out how much your backpack weighs by clicking here: