Take care at the sales! Carrying heavy bags can cause shoppers stress, researchers findPhysical weight can influence “psychological weight”

A study has found carrying heavy shopping bags can boost stress levels

A study has found carrying heavy shopping bags can boost stress levels

Carrying heavy shopping bags can boost stress levels, say scientists.

A study found lifting weighty objects can affect mental health, causing people to subconsciously dwell on serious or depressing matters.

As Boxing Day sales welcome record profits researchers are urging people to consider the health implications.

In 2009 it was reported that stress and chronic ill health in the workplace cost 100bn.

Sleeping problems, sweating, loss of appetite and difficulty concentrating are common symptoms and more serious health problems include high blood pressure.

Researchers from the Chinese University of Hong Kong and National University of Singapore, looked at how physical weight can increase stress by assessing consumer reaction.

One group of participants were instructed to hold shopping bags full of goods before giving their opinion on an unrelated topic.

Another group were left empty-handed and grilled about the same topic.

Results showed the issue was more important to the participants carrying bags than participants who weren’t weighed down.

Lead researchers Meng Zhang and Xiuping Li said their findings, which support previous studies, suggest physical weight influences a person’s “psychological weight”.

They added: “Prior research has shown that the physical experience of carrying weight can influence people’s judgment in unrelated domains such as the importance of an event.”

The study, featured in the forthcoming edition of the Journal of Consumer Research, found that negative psychological impact was eliminated when participants who carried heavy loads were instructed to think about light objects, such as balloons and feathers.

Selfridges reported record first-hour sales at its store yesterday while Brent Cross in London took up to 1,000 a second as bargain hunters battled for heavily reduced items.