Did you know April 16 is National Stress Awareness Day? Ironically, you and I are probably too stressed to notice. Well, in honor of April 16, I am dedicating all of the blog posts this month to the topics of consequences of stress and how to reduce stress. We are so used to having stress in our work that I think we often forget the price we actually pay in the long run.
This is because the consequences of stress (illness, early death) do not show until many years later vs. the rewards from putting ourselves in stressful situations are more apparent and immediate – praise for a project completed successfully, a raise as a result of our stellar work which may be filled with stressful days, or a quicker path to promotion. To raise more awareness that work related stress can actually kill you, I want to give you a different perspective than the accepted norm that stress is just part of life. It is important to realize that you are choosing stress when make decisions about where you work, how much you work, and how fast you try to climb the career ladder.
- What if the consequences of your stress related to working toward that promotion one year earlier, is you will die 1 year earlier? If you knew that for a fact, do you still want that promotion sooner? Maybe not. While I can’t say this for sure, there is a lot of truth to this example. In one study of 820 adults, 53 of them died during the 20 year study period mainly because they worked in a hostile environment that caused them higher level of work-related stress.
- What if the consequences of your stress related to trying to get the maximum raise you want at the end of year, is you are 25-50% more likely to get a heart attack or stroke later in life? This is actually based on facts (see infographics below). What would be your response? Many of our instincts say maybe I will beat the odds and be that 50% that don’t get a heart attack or stroke. Are you willing to gamble time over time your health on those odds?
- What if overworking and over stressing can literally and directly kill you? Will you still choose to do it? In Japan, 10K managers, executives and engineers die annually from overwork.
- What if what career you choose to pursue is directly linked to how long you might live? Well, this is also true. The following 10 careers are considered the most stressful careers of 2012 according to Careercast.com.
- Airline pilots
- Military generals
- Police officers
- Event coordinators
- Public relations executives
- Corporate executives
- Taxi drivers
Do you feel like you are more aware of the consequences of stress on your health? If so, will you do anything about it today? What you choose to do every day at work (how long you work, how much you stress) can affect your long term health and happiness. Remember, the annual salary we need to be happy is only about $50K. Given this, how much of your health and how many years of life are you willing to sacrifice for more money and status beyond the $50K you need to be happy?
Your comments: Are you stressed at work? If so, what are you doing about it? I look forward to your comments below.