Did You Know? Some Surprising Data about Stress
A 2005 study conducted by the American Psychological Association found more than 1/3 of Americans say they have had an illness primarily caused by stress. Stress in the work place causes approximately one million U.S. employees to miss work each day and two-thirds of all office visits to family physicians are due to stress related symptoms.
Clearly stress has a significant impact on our physical health, ability to work and day-to-day life. We may be able to reduce some of the stressors in our lives, but the reality is we cannot eliminate stress. Without strategies to deal with stress, Americans are at risk for increasing health problems, work absenteeism and daily hassles and struggles. For some, unmanaged stress leads to additional problem behaviors, such as over or under eating, spending too much, irritability and strained relationships and drinking or substance use.
If stress is a problem in your life, where do you turn?
Your Health Care Provider or a Psychologist: The Wellstone-Domenici Parity Act went into effect January 2010 in a recognition of the relationship between mental and physical health. It requires health insurance plans to provide equal coverage for mental and physical health.
American Council on Exercise. Changes in your lifestyle can have a significant impact on your vulnerability to stress. Exercise, in particular, can improve your ability to manage stress.
Your Calendar: Stress is often a result of over-scheduling and conflicting demands. Examine your schedule to determine what you can eliminate. Pressure to do everything you "should" do can cause significant stress. Pair down your schedule.
Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Your employer may offer assistance through an EAP. These programs may offer counseling, referral or information. EAP programs can help you with both work and personal stress.
Gaining an understanding of how stress operates in your life, how your lifestyle may contribute to stress and changes that you can make to reduce your vulnerability to stress can all help to improve every day functioning.