March 23, 2018
There is an epidemic of stress nationwide today, with the vast majority of U.S. workers—80%, according to the American Institute of Stress—experiencing on-the-job tension and anxiety.
What they are doing about it, U.S. News reports—chugging coffees (34%) and handfuls of candy, downing alcoholic drinks, resorting to prescription and recreational drugs, and acting out—may exacerbate the problem rather than help to solve it.
In a poll of 751 adult American workers sponsored by The Marlin Company, conducted by The Harris Poll, and cited by the institute, fully 25% of respondents admitted that job-related stress makes them feel like screaming, and 14% said that their stress levels have made them feel like hitting a coworker.
Thus, it is no surprise that 10% of respondents expressed fear that someone they know at work actually could turn violent, with another 18% reporting that they had experienced a threat or verbal intimidation within the past year.
Now, a survey sponsored by Salt Lake City-based Bridge has found that the pressures are growing worse, instead of being ameliorated. The study has found that the 24/7 culture of many companies may be adding to the stress.
Only 33% of the 1,000 U.S. office workers who participated in the study said they are encouraged by their employer to take paid time off, and only 11% are encouraged to take mental health days as part of their sick leave. Most (78% of workers) were convinced that working more hours would be crucial to getting ahead and about 50% reported feeling like they have to engage in workplace politics.
However, U.S. News cautions, be careful what you wish for—and what methods you use to relieve the stress that is generated along the path to achievement. Even coffee, which has some proven health benefits, can cause unpleasant symptoms like headaches and irritability if you drink too much of it, according to the Mayo Clinic.
And Harvard Medical School has warned that, if you eat too much added sugar—in the form of those M&Ms or candy bars—it boosts your risk of dying from heart disease. Plus it goes without saying that alcohol and drugs do not mix well with work.
Instead, experts advise, take paid time off, even if it is not encouraged by your company; unplug and de-stress for a few minutes every hour, exercise for anxiety relief—and plan ahead. Starting the day worried and disorganized can only set you up for more stress; while planning your calendar will enhance feelings of control and competence.
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