Stress is what you experience when you feel overwhelmed by events in your life. As a result you feel powerful emotions which you may find difficult to manage.
You may feel strong emotions for lots of reasons. You may be angry about something. You may be nervous about an interview or speaking in public. You may be afraid of being hurt by someone or of failing in something you really want to do. You can be excited about something and still feel stressed. You may feel that you just have too much to do. It doesn’t matter how old you are – stress affects everyone.
According to American Psychological Association, since Stress in America™ began in 2007 to explore U.S. adults’ experiences with stress, women consistently have reported higher average stress levels than men.
Percentage Reporting an Increase in Stress
- Female 32%
- Male 25%
- Female 37%
- Male 31%
What is the relationship between Stress and Work?
Work stress is defined as the harmful physical and emotional responses that occur when the job requirement does not match with an individual worker’s capabilities, resources, or needs. This stress can lead to poor health and even injury.
The Stress in America survey results show that adults continue to report high levels of stress and many report that their stress has increased over the past year. Eight out of 10 American workers are stressed out by at least one aspect at work, according to the latest survey conducted by Nieslen for Everest College.
“I think a lot of it has to do with what’s happening in the workforce today. People in the U.S. think we’re still in a recession,” said Wendy Cullen vice president of employer development for Everest College.
Causes of Work Stress?
Almost everyone agrees that job stress results from the interaction of the worker and the conditions of work. Views differ, however, the primary cause of work stress is because of a worker’s persona v/s work environment. These contradictory perspectives are important as they advocate different ways to prevent stress at work.
Differences in an individual’s personality and handling skills are most important in predicting if certain job conditions will result in stress i.e., what is stressful for one person may not be for someone else. This idea helps to develop prevention strategies that emphasize on workers and ways to help them cope with demanding job conditions.
Main Cause of Stress
- Workload 46%
- People Issues 28%
- Juggling work/ Personal lives 20%
- Lack of Job Security 6%
Actually what is most important about work in relation to stress is what’s well-suited for each individual. It is necessary that a person is surrounded by individuals with similar personalities to go along with i.e., a friendly work environment is must. Whether the work is indoors or outdoors, whether it’s working more by yourself or with other people, you want to find work where you feel at ease.
Although the significance of individual differences cannot be ignored, scientific evidence suggests that certain working conditions are stressful to most people.
Work Conditions That May Lead to Stress:
- The Design of Tasks: Heavy workload, few rest breaks, extended work hours and shiftwork; hectic and routine tasks that have little essential meaning, not utilizing workers’ proficient skills, and little intellectual control to the employee.
- Management Style. Lack of involvement of workers in decision making, poor communication in the organizational body, lack of family-friendly policies.
- Interpersonal Relationships. Poor social environment and lack of support or assistance from fellow associates and supervisors.
- Work Roles. Incompatible job expectations, too much workload, and “Too many hats to wear, and too few heads to wear them.”
- Career Concerns. Job insecurity and lack of opportunity for growth, or promotion; hasty changes for which workers are unprepared.
- Environmental Conditions. Unpleasant or dangerous physical conditions such as crowding, noise, air pollution, or ergonomic problems.
What is the relationship between Stress and Education?
One area that creates stress is Education. There are always targets and deadlines. Almost two decades of our lives is spent in formal education – endless rounds of homework, essays, ordered tests, and end-of-semester exams – which is impressed upon us as our career and future life shaper.
American teens report experiences with stress that follow a similar pattern as adults, according to a new survey released by the American Psychological Association (APA). In fact, during the school year, teens say their stress level is higher than levels reported by adults.
Causes of Educational Stress:
Stress is fabricated into our education system. But stress, by its own nature, is meant to be a short-run response to physical danger. Education, by its nature, has to be a long term activity. The result is inherently a formula for disaster.
In a progressively pressurized, competitive and financially-driven education system, this phenomenon can only become more acute: depression is virtually an end result. The more ambitious a course, more negative are the consequences for the proportion of students who lack the means to deal with the inherent stresses.
For teens and adults alike, stress has an impact on healthy behavior like exercising, sleeping well and eating healthy foods. Many teens also report feeling overwhelmed and depressed or sad as a result of stress.
Eight things we can do to reduce stress
Learning to handle stress in healthy ways is very important. Fortunately, it is easy to learn a few simple techniques that help. These include recognizing and changing behavior patterns that contribute to stress, as well as techniques for reducing stress once it has occurred.
- Identify Cautioning Signs: these signs differ from person to person, but might include things like feeling numb, loss of appetite, grating teeth, headaches leading to migraine, feeling irritable and short tempered.
- Identify Causes: There are often unknown causes which trigger stress, making it more difficult to manage. If you know what causes you stress, you can aim to beat them and practice comforting yourself beforehand. Triggers might include money issues, dislike for the job, deadlines, relationship problems, encountering certain people, not having enough time for oneself or hunger.
- Managing Work Load: Prioritize your tasks – make notes on what needs to be done first and by when. Break down an overwhelming list into smaller, manageable tasks over a specific time frame.
- Build a Balanced Schedule: Having a balanced routine for exercise and recreation, meal times, waking and bedtimes, can be very calming and uplifting.
- Look after Your Health: Make sure to eat healthy and exercise regularly. Take out time for the activities you find calming, for instance listening to music, dancing, performing yoga or gardening. Avoid unhealthy coping strategies such as using alcohol, tobacco or other drugs.
- Avoid ‘Self-talk’: When in stress we tend to self-speak things in our head continuously, worsening our stress condition. This disobliging self-talk might include things like: ‘I can’t do it’, or ‘I can’t let go’ or ‘I’m so tired’. Try more self-soothing talks such as ‘Breathe, smile, let it go’.
- Stay with People Who Care: Spend time with your loved ones and those who care for you. Share your thoughts and feelings with those people who would positively change your outlook. Don’t repress your feelings.
- Seek Professional Help: If high levels of stress continue for a long period of time, or is meddling with your healthy life, it is okay to seek professional help. A mental health professional, like a psychologist, can help you identify the triggers contributing to your high stress, and help you to modify things that are under your control.