StressDoctor warns of escalating problems
A new report showing the impact of workplace stress on heart disease has highlighted only one of many health risks according to a leading workplace stress expert.
Terri Bodell, known as the StressDoctor, warns that the increasing levels of stress at work are creating serious physical and mental health issues that is costing the UK over £28bn a year – a quarter of the total sick bill.
‘Workplace stress is reaching crisis levels’, warns Terri. ‘Research has made us increasingly aware of the connection between ongoing stress and compromised health. This latest report confirms that excessive pressure at work doubles the risk of developing cardiac problems. Previous reports already showed that those who suffer stress for at least half their working lives are 25% more likely to suffer a fatal heart attack and have a 50% greater chance of dying from a stroke. But that’s not the end of it. There are multiple health problems when people ignore their stress warning signs. Severe depression, anxiety, self-harm, breakdown of family and peer relationships, alcoholism and other drug dependencies – the list is extensive and often means long-term absenteeism.’
Terri also points out that even those with relatively minor stress levels will have health problems. ‘Poorer concentration, memory, and judgement are just three typical symptoms of workplace stress.’ She continues: ‘Stressed-out workers are more prone to errors, accidents, and more likely to fly off the handle in anger or tears. They’ll also take up unhealthy behaviours to help them cope, such as smoking and adopting poor dietary habits. They’ll develop headaches, indigestion, poor sleep patterns, back pains...it really is a whole spectrum of health issues.’
Whilst Terri acknowledges that the recession has made workplace stress levels rise even higher, she believes that stress is usually caused by abnormal workloads, poor management styles and difficult work-based relationships.
‘Companies need to accept that stress is a potential risk not only to their employees but to their business performance and consider ways of preventing stress before it gets out of hand. Simple things like recognising stress ‘hot-spots’ and closely monitoring employees who exhibit warning signs of stress will help reduce absenteeism and result in healthier employees. In the meantime, workers need to find better ways of dealing with their stress so that health risks are minimized.’
For a limited period, Terri is offering a free e-book and audio course to people who want to reduce their stress levels at work. Both book and audio course can be downloaded from her website www.reduceyourstressatwork.co.uk.
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