Stress at Work and Disability, How to Avoid it

stress at work and disabilityIf you are severely stressed at work and disability is in your future, here’s how to avoid it. America’s work force is overworked and stressed out. According to a recent study in The Journal of Environmental and Public Health, 40% of American workers report that their employment was very or extremely stressful and one-quarter see their jobs as the number one stressor in their lives. Finally, three-fourths of American employees think that workers are more stressed out now than a generation ago. Another study in The Primary Care Companion states that depression is ranked as the main cause of disability in the United States, over $40 billion dollars is spent on lost work productivity and medical treatment related to depression and anxiety.

Many people have stress at work and disability is their last resort; here’s how to avoid it. The work environment can be demanding, requiring long hours, mental alertness and good time management skills. When people learn strategies to reduce stress at work they begin to balance their work and home life so they can manage. There have been studies and articles written on ways to reduce stress in the workplace. Here are some suggestions to reduce stress at work and disability.

In a 2012 study in The Journal of Environmental and Public Health participants were assessed for their participation in interventions on mental health and absenteeism. The study found that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy improved the mental health of workers and that exercise reduced absenteeism. Just as the name suggests, CBT focuses on the way people think (“cognitive”) and act (“behavioral”). People’s thoughts regarding situations affect how they feel physically and emotionally and if they can learn to manage those thoughts, they can take control of the emotions associated with those thoughts.

Have stress at work and disability is your only option? Here’s how to avoid it. A good way to keep track of one’s negative thoughts from work or home is through a CBT journal in which the participant writes down his/her negative thoughts and addresses each of them individually. One example could be, “Mary is purposefully ignoring me.” The subject would then identify this thought, label it according to the CBT labeling system and write a more logical thought below like, “Mary is probably busy, she has many things to do and may not be able to get to me right away.” In this way the participant must learn to identify the thoughts that have taken over their brain and to talk back to them individually with logical reasoning. Another example would be, “My boss hates me.” Logical reasoning would replace this thought with, “my boss is mad at me but he will get over it.” or “I don’t know what my boss thinks at all.”

Have stress at work and disability is your only option? Here’s how to avoid it. The 2012 study also found that workers were absent less when they participated in physical activity. It is well established by scientists that exercise reduces stress by increasing serotonin levels.

In a 2004 study from The Primary Care Companion, researchers state that involvement in exercise helps alleviate symptoms of clinical depression. So regularly attending aquafit classes or any other form of organized activity would be a benefit to people experiencing stress in the workplace. Furthermore, some work places have a gym where employees can work out. Finally, it is possible to gather employees up to go on walks during lunch hour or after work. To sum things up, it is advisable to do the obvious, sleep more, get more exercise, eat better and use CBT to tackle negative thinking.

Opinion by: Nicole Drawc

Sources:

Journal of Environmental and Public Health
NCBI
Anxiety BC

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