According to the American Psychological Association’s 2013 Stress in America™ survey snapshot (click on “High stress does not appear to be going away”):
Money (71 percent), work (69 percent) and the economy (59 percent) are the most commonly reported sources of stress.
More than half (54 percent) of adults say their personal relationships (for example, spouse, kids, partner) are a very or somewhat significant source of stress in their lives.
It is extremely difficult to pin down the apple-to-apple costs of these stressors; however, the American Institute of Stress states on its website, AIS > Workplace Stress, “Job stress [just one of the stressors cited above] carries a price tag for U.S. industry estimated at over $300 billion annually as a result of:
·Direct medical, legal, and insurance costs
·Workers’ compensation awards as well as tort and FELA judgments
In my article, “Extrapolating the Workplace Costs of Secondhand Drinking,” I delve into the costs of secondhand drinking – a little understood source of stress that can affect up to 40% of a workforce and carries siginficant costs to companies and publica agencies, as well. This ties into my new approach to tackling workplace costs of employee stress described below.
New Approach to Reducing Costs of Employee Stress in the Workplace
Two ways my stress reduction educational programs tackle the issue of employee stress costs in the workplace include:
- Secondhand Drinking and the Stress Connection, which in turn applies to stress in general
- Simplification of the brain science of stress, which helps employees understand how stress changes brain (and thus physical and vice versa) health and function, as a basis for then healing, rewiring the brain to reverse and counter those impacts moving forward.
My approach has a third advantage – reducing the workplace costs of employee alcohol misuse. My latest consulting work using this approach has been the development of an online training video program for The City of Missouri, Kansas City Police Department:
Sharing 21st Century Brain Research to Change the Conversations for Better Outcomes Related to:
- Alcohol Misuse and Changing Drinking Patterns
- Secondhand Drinking (SHD) and Coping with / Protecting Self from Drinking Behaviors [much of which applies to stress in general]
- Brain Health and Wellness and Tools to Heal, to Rewire One’s Brain
Research on Stress
To understand why stress is so costly is to understand how stress changes a person’s health. I’ll close this post with two sources to explain this connection:
“The Science of Stress and How Our Emotions Affect Our Susceptibility to Burnout and Disease,” by Maria Popova, July 20, 2015. Ms. Popova does a beautiful job of explaining “how our minds and bodies actually affect one another” within the context of stress and Dr. Esther Sternberg’s book, “The Balance Within: The Science Connecting Health and Emotions.” As Ms. Popova writes in her article,
…[N]o researcher has done more to illuminate the invisible threads that weave mind and body together than Dr. Esther Sternberg. Her groundbreaking work on the link between the central nervous system and the immune system, exploring how immune molecules made in the blood can trigger brain function that profoundly affects our emotions, has revolutionized our understanding of the integrated being we call a human self. In the immeasurably revelatory The Balance Within: The Science Connecting Health and Emotions (public library), Sternberg examines the interplay of our emotions and our physical health, mediated by that seemingly nebulous yet, it turns out, remarkably concrete experience called stress.
The National Institute of Memtal Health > Fact Sheet on Stress – a Q & A on stress for adults that discusses how it affects your health and what you can do about it.
Why Understanding the Science of Stress Can Help Employees & Thereby Mitigate the Costs of Stress in the Workplace
As my readers, audiences and clients report, it is understanding the science of stress that has given them the tools to re-wire, to heal their brains and thereby heal their physical and emotional health.
For more information on my unique approach, please contact me.