So many of us are feeling stressed at work these days.
In fact, the United Nations’ International Labor Organization is calling occupational stress a “global epidemic.”
Quite a few surveys confirm this information, and the problem has been escalating over the past few decades.
It is a situation that affects both the employee and employer, as workplace stress is costing businesses a projected $200 billion a year in:
- Time off
- Decrease in productivity
- Compensation costs
- Medical insurance
- turnover in staff
…and other expenses related to stress issues.
Oganizations that specialize in this field, such as the American Institute of Stress, have their own thoughts to share in this matter.
It is now believed that pressure on the job is leading the list of common stressors for adults.
They also report that as much as 80% of workers feel this way about their jobs, with one fourth claiming it to be the biggest stress factor in their lives.
This is discomforting when you consider how much time we actually spend working.
Another survey about stress in the workplace was done by Harris Interactive on behalf of the American Psychological Association in 2011.
It was conducted online from January 31 – February 8 in the US, and 1,546 adults over 18 years old participated. They all resided in the country and were employed full-time, part-time, or were self-employed.
-A startling 36% (over one third!) claimed they routinely felt stressed during their day at work.
-Almost half of them (49%) blaimed a low salary as the cause for this negativity.
-On a scale of 1-10, about 20% rated their level of stress at 8, 9, or 10!
Other related sources of stress mentioned were:
- Heavy workload and a lack of opportunity to move forward
- Very long hours
- Expectations from employers that are unrealistic
Some more eye-opening information was provided by the Holmes-Rahe Life Events Scale. This is a tool which helps us measure the levels of stress caused by certain events.
In correlation with the information above, it seems that many of our most demanding situations evolve around the workplace.
These can relate to getting fired or switching to a new line of work after a long period of time, financial status or responsibilities being altered, friction with the boss or other co-workers, vacation time, retirement, or unforseen variations in hours or working conditions…to name a few!
Scientific studies also confirm that employees who believe high demands are being put on them which they cannot control, are at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease.
The Best Ways To Relax When You’re Stressed At Work
Nearly half of the respondents in surveys admitted they need help managing stress in the workplace.
Since it is unreasonable for most us to walk away from our jobs and head to the beach, we have to be wise in choosing a solution.
Some tips I’ve already shared in previous posts can be most effective.
If you choose the wrong technique to reduce stress at work, one which causes you to stray from your responsibilies too often, it can jeopardize your job. So be smart…
Often it is not the environment itself but the person’s own inability to fit into certain types of situations that makes things difficult.
For instance, some people thrive in fast-paced, high-pressure jobs. This individual would go crazy from boredome if they were stuck working on an assembly line, or something similar.
It was shown in one survey that many police officers feel more stressed dealing with paperwork than when they are chasing criminals on the streets.
I think the key is to assess your own tolerance for different types of occupations. In other words, don’t take a position in a fast-food restaurant if you don’t like crowds and moving quickly:)
The news above is not meant to intimidate or scare you.
It is a normal part of our bevavior as humans to encounter a tough situation, respond to it with the appropriate amount of tense feelings, and then slip back into a calm, relaxed state afterward.
This improves our ability to deal with similar circumstances in the future.
In the words of Robert Ostermann, psychology professor at FDU’s Teaneck-Hackensack Campus, “No one reaches peak performance without being stressed, whether an athlete, an office worker or a manager.”
Problems arise when we are forced to remain in a heightened state for prolonged periods of time, or when the pressure becomes so great that it starts to overwhelm us.
Try a few of the techniques and tips on this site if you feel yourself getting stressed at work.
Be wary of your own condition at all times, both physically and emotionally.
Total awareness can keep you on the right path towards happiness and joyful living.