Your Stressful Job May Be the Death of You

Just about everyone has had a stressful work experience at least once in his or her life. All sorts of things can lead to job stress. The top five stressors, according to the American Psychological Association, are: low salary, heavy workloads, lack of opportunity for growth and advancement, unrealistic job expectations, and job security. All of this can make you want to pull the covers back over your head rather than haul yourself into the office. But beyond feeling like an exercise in masochism, a stressful workplace can cause very real harm in your life. Consider these frightening facts:

·      Stress makes you tired and careless: According to a study conducted by the American Psychological Association, 53% of all workers reported fatigue due to stress. And the American Institute of Stress notes that stress-related distraction and/or sleepiness accounts for between 60% and 80% of all accidents on the job.


·      Stress makes you more prone to a whole host of (potentially fatal) diseases: A 2004 Luminari Landmark Study found that work stress makes people twice as likely to suffer from heart/cardiovascular problems, depression/anxiety, substance abuse, certain cancers, conflicts injuries, infectious disease, and back pain.


·      Stress makes you fat: In a CareerBuilder.com survey, more than 26% of employees said that they gained 10 pounds on the job. Obesity is a nationwide epidemic that costs more than $13 billion every year in medical costs and lost productivity.


·      Stress makes you depressed: Stress is a cause of depression, a disease that the National Institute of Mental Health says cost $23 billion dollars per year in lost workdays.


·      Stress gives you diabetes: Stress has been shown to increase incidences of diabetes. Last year, diabetes led to 15 million lost workdays and 120 million reduced-productivity workdays across the United States.

As you can see in many of the examples above, stress doesn’t just harm the individual workers. It also can take a severe toll on a company’s bottom line. So it is in an employer’s best interest on every level to take steps to curtail stress. These steps can be simple; one study showed that reducing noise (a common source of stress) in an office setting increases employee’s focus by 48%! And allotting time for moderate exercise, like yoga or walking, during the day can help to lower cortisol levels, which can lead to stress.

What small steps can you take to reduce stress in your job? Whether it be packing a healthy snack rather than relying on the vending machines or taking 10 minutes during your lunch break to do some light cubicle-yoga or meditation, you’ll be glad you did something healthy for yourself. And your boss will be happy to see you increasing both positivity and productivity in the workplace!

Wanna Learn More? Resource:

"Stress in the Workplace: Meeting the Challenge." Health Advocate, 2009. Web. 25 Jan 2012. <http://www.healthadvocate.com/downloads/webinars/stress-workplace.pdf>.