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Is Korea a stressful country?


Korea is a country that has been rapidly growing in recent years, with a population of over 51 million people. As the country has developed, it has become known for its high-pressure work and education environments. Many people have wondered if Korea is a stressful country to live in. In this article, we will explore this question and look at some of the factors that contribute to Korea’s reputation as a stressful country.

Culture and Society in Korea

The culture and society in Korea are unique and can be challenging for outsiders to understand. The emphasis on Confucian values such as respect for authority, hierarchy, and filial piety can create a lot of pressure for individuals who do not fit into these expectations. The pressure to conform can be especially difficult for young people who are trying to establish their own identity.

Education System

The education system in Korea is known for being highly competitive and rigorous. Students are under a lot of pressure to perform well on exams, and many attend private after-school programs called hagwons to supplement their learning. This means that students often spend long hours studying, which can lead to high levels of stress.

Work Culture

Korea’s work culture is also known for being demanding. Workers are expected to work long hours and often feel pressure to stay late at the office even when they may not have much work to do. This can make it difficult for workers to balance their personal lives with their work responsibilities.

Gender Roles

Gender roles in Korea can also contribute to stress levels. Women are often expected to play traditional roles as mothers and wives while working full-time jobs. This can create a lot of pressure to juggle multiple responsibilities, which can lead to stress.

Media Pressure

Korea’s media industry is also known for being very competitive. Celebrities are under a lot of pressure to maintain a certain image, which can be difficult given the intense scrutiny from fans and the media. This can create a lot of stress and anxiety for those in the public eye.

High Cost of Living

The cost of living in Korea is also relatively high, which can add to stress levels. Housing costs are particularly high in cities like Seoul, and many people have to work long hours just to make ends meet.

Language Barrier

For foreigners living in Korea, the language barrier can be a significant source of stress. Korean is a difficult language to learn, and many people struggle to communicate effectively with locals. This can make it challenging to navigate day-to-day life in Korea.

Pressure to Succeed

There is a pervasive pressure to succeed in Korean society, which can lead to high levels of stress. This pressure is particularly strong in fields like business and politics, where success can mean prestige and financial gain.

Mental Health

Mental health is an area of concern in Korea, with high rates of depression and suicide. The stigma surrounding mental health issues can make it difficult for people to seek help, which can exacerbate stress levels.

Social Isolation

For some people living in Korea, social isolation can be a significant source of stress. The emphasis on conformity and hierarchy can make it challenging for individuals to form close relationships with others, particularly if they do not fit into societal expectations.

Coping Mechanisms

Despite these challenges, there are many coping mechanisms that individuals use to manage stress in Korea. These include activities like exercising, meditation, and spending time with friends and family.


In conclusion, Korea is known for its high-pressure work and education environments, which can contribute to stress levels for individuals living in the country. The culture and society in Korea, as well as factors like the cost of living and pressure to succeed, can all add to stress levels. However, there are also coping mechanisms that individuals use to manage stress, and it is possible to find a balance between work and personal life in Korea. Overall, while Korea may be a stressful country at times, it is also a country with a rich culture and many opportunities for personal growth and development.

Is life stressful in South Korea?

A survey in South Korea conducted in 2022 found that around 44.9% of those asked experienced stress in their daily lives in the past two weeks. This data was collected on December 6th, 2022.

Are people overworked in South Korea?

South Korea has been labeled as the most overworked nation in Asia, as employees work an average of 1,915 hours in 2021.

Is it hard for an American to live in South Korea?

If you are well-prepared before your arrival, moving to South Korea can be a hassle-free experience. Although the country used to have a negative attitude towards foreign immigration, this outlook has since shifted with the arrival of more international companies.

Is depression common in Korea?

A high percentage of elderly individuals in South Korea, ranging from 17.8% to 27.9%, are at risk of experiencing depression, which is considerably higher than in other nations.

Is South Korea a happiness country?

Despite advancements, the people of Korea appear to be visibly dissatisfied. South Korea, in particular, ranked 59th out of 146 nations in the 2022 World Happiness Report by the United Nations, with a score of 5.935 out of 10.

What time do Koreans wake up?

Based on global data, South Korea has the latest average wake-up time at 7:38 AM, followed by Denmark at 7:19 AM, Greece at 8:25 AM, and Spain at 8:05 AM. There are a total of 46 countries included in the ranking of sleeping habits. This information was last updated in April 2015.

Another factor that can contribute to stress in Korea is the country’s fast-paced lifestyle. Everything from the transportation system to the food culture is oriented towards efficiency and speed, which can be overwhelming for some individuals. Additionally, the constant hustle and bustle of city life in Korea can make it challenging for people to find time for themselves and relax.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also had a significant impact on stress levels in Korea. The country’s response to the pandemic has been praised globally, but the measures put in place have led to increased isolation and anxiety for many individuals. Social distancing requirements have made it difficult for people to meet up with friends and family, and the fear of contracting the virus has added an extra layer of stress to daily life.

Despite these challenges, there are efforts being made to address stress levels in Korea. The government has implemented policies aimed at reducing working hours and promoting work-life balance, and mental health awareness campaigns have been launched to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues. Additionally, there are a growing number of resources available for individuals seeking support, including counseling services and online communities.

In conclusion, while Korea may be a stressful country to live in at times, it is not without its strengths and resources. While factors like the education system, work culture, and social expectations can contribute to stress levels, there are also coping mechanisms and support systems available. As Korea continues to grow and evolve as a society, it is important that steps are taken to address stress levels and promote mental health awareness.

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