20/12/2010 12:13 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Being Too Laid Back Could Affect Your Health

Well we've heard it all now. Just as many people are struggling to find time for a little bit of relaxation in their busy lives, researchers from the University of Birmingham claim if you're too laid back - at least when it comes to how your body reacts to stress - it could be bad for you.

Being laid back could be bad for you Being too chilled out could be bad for you, say researchers. Photo: Flickr, nao.k

So while the rest of us persevere with meditation, deep breathing and trying to switch off generally, spare a thought for all those chilled people out there who are at risk of being obese, depressed and having a weak immune system.

Writing in the journal Biological Psychology, the researchers suggest when the body underreacts to life's stresses, it can be just as bad as when you overreact.

The study, which lasted for 14 years, involved 1,300 people who were asked to take part in a stress test. Those whose bodies underreacted to stress - that is, their heart rate and blood pressure didn't change much - were more likely to become depressed and obese over the next five years, say the researchers. But those whose heart rates and blood pressure responded to stress normally (that is, both measurements went up), were less likely to be affected.

The researchers also point out that studies in the past have linked low blood pressure with anxiety and depression.

But don't forget, just because someone appears laid back, it doesn't necessarily mean their body underreacts to stress (that is, what's happening on the outside isn't always an indication of what's going on inside).

How do you react to stress? Do you freak out or take it all in your stride?

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