Most of us have felt “stressed out” at one time or another. When this feeling persists day after day, stress becomes chronic. Chronic stress can take a toll on our careers, on our quality of life and on our bodies, making us susceptible to a host of illnesses.
In fact, what many of us don’t realize — and what medical researchers are confirming in study after study — is that our stress levels are directly linked to our physical wellbeing. Seventy-five percent of our visits to the doctor’s office concern stress-related ailments.
Common Sources of Stress
For many of us, stress is at an all-time high level. Some common sources of stress include financial worries, concerns about job security, heavy workloads and responsibility, job burnout and personality conflicts at work. the demands of work and family, troubled relationships, as well as caregiving for a sick loved one or an aging parent.
How Stress Affects Us at Work
We all know that stress affects us at work. When we are under chronic stress, we often have trouble meeting deadlines, concentrating and making decisions. Our productivity and performance decrease as our stress levels increase.
We also may become easily irritated and overwhelmed, and have relationship problems with colleagues. Many people are unable to leave their job-related issues behind at night or feel immobilized on the job. Stress can also mean more headaches, backaches and colds — and more sick days. Did you know that one in four people report they’ve missed work as a result of work-related stress?
How Stress Affects Our Health and Wellness
Almost half of us suffer physically due to stress. Chronic stress can affect the body in a number of ways: It weakens the immune system, which can cause fatigue and make us more susceptible to colds and flus.
It can also trigger a variety of ailments from gum disease to osteoporosis; cause premature aging; and lead to lifethreatening illnesses like diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
Strategies for Managing Stress
Whether the stress originates at the office or at home — or a little of both — we take it with us wherever we go.
The good news is that we now know that caring for our minds as well as our bodies can keep us healthier, happier and more productive in all aspects of life.
Here are some strategies you can use to better manage stress. These tips may seem like common sense, but few of us apply them to our daily lives. They will help if you use them.
Treat your body right. Eating right and exercising can increase your tolerance to stress.
Set realistic goals. Do what’s possible and carry on.
Set and re-set your priorities. Take care of important and difficult tasks first, and eliminate unessential tasks.