Are Workers Allowing Stress To Ruin Their Lives?

Nov. 5, 2003
New research indicates that 74 percent of British workers admit to letting stress affect their general well-being.

Dr. Patrick Whiteside, one of the UK's leading psychiatrists who specializes in the effects of stress, conducted the study. He found that the biggest cause of stress is a lack of time in which to get things done.

Study participants said the most common effects from feeling stressed are: feeling generally miserable, (52 percent), arguments with partners (44 percent), effects on relationships with friends and colleagues (33 percent) and nearly a quarter find feeling stressed affects their sex life.

Women tend to let stress affect them more than men, with 76 percent blaming stress as the number one contributor to disrupting major areas of their lives. Interestingly, 35 percent men feel that being stressed affects their quality of work more than it might their sex life or relationships with friends and family.

Other major causes of stress are money worries, lack of sleep and children.

"While taking regular breaks away from everyday routine can certainly help people feel calmer and more in control, there are several both short and longer term solutions that can also help," said Patrick. His solutions include:

  • Making a priority of getting a good night's sleep, which he says is one of the best ways to help restore the body and mind.
  • Taking regular exercise. Even walking for half an hour a day in the fresh air can release harmful emotional tension and give people the chance to get things in a better perspective.
  • Regular meditation. "A simple technique, such as mindfulness of breathing, is easy to learn and, if practiced daily - even for only a few minutes - eventually brings body and mind into harmony. The result is greater equanimity and emotional resilience in the face of stress, with improved levels of calm, self-worth and happiness," says Patrick.
  • Take time out to reflect on values. What gives meaning and purpose to life? "What sustains you in times of hardship and difficulty?" Patrick asked. "Whatever it is, make it a genuine priority."
About the Author

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the former content director of EHS Today, and is currently the EHSQ content & community lead at Intelex Technologies Inc. She has written about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990.

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