Workers in the United States put in more hours on the job per year than those in other countries, according to the International Labour Organization, an agency of the UN. The survey finds that there is a higher level of worker stress in the U.S. With baby-boomers getting set to retire, a large portion of the work force will disappear, putting more burden on younger workers. Managing stress will become more important.
According to the American Institute of Stress, this issue has been described as America’s number one health problem. Psychology Today suggests work-related stress is as harmful as smoking. Stress can lead to strokes, heart attacks, diabetes, ulcers, back pain, and many other “diseases of civilization.” Often, people attempt to treat the symptoms of these disorders but the root of the problem is never addressed.
There are two major categories of treatment according to emedicine.com. While medical treatment if one option, some individuals can be treated by self-care at home:
If you can identify the source of your stress, remove yourself from it or address the situation. That may be all that is needed to resolve the situation and your anxiety. Even if you are only able to get away for a few seconds or minutes, the break is important and can help you on the way to a more permanent solution.
How can we prevent stress? The same resources recommends regular exercise, positive thinking, realistic goal-setting, time management, and self-reward. Some people might also have success with yoga, meditation, and other non-medical solutions.
On the job, human resources departments often have many options for dealing with work-related stress for company employees. At my company, massages are available at certain times during the year (for a fee). Many companies hold Stress Management seminars for their employees, as well.
* About.com offers a comprehensive guide to stress, co-published with the Adam Healthcare Center.
* Want to evaluate your stress level? Take this online stress quiz, offered by the 4therapy Network.
Updated February 6, 2012 and originally published May 25, 2005.