- About 6,400 people were hospitalised with stress in the last year
- Stress is the biggest cause of sickness in the UK
- 105 million days are lost in the workplace due to stress
I don’t think that the impact of stress has been fully realised. The mere fact that thousands of people, in the UK alone, are being hospitalised due to stress, elevates the severity of the epidemic. Can we call it an epidemic? In light of these statistics I think we can. This is because stress is normally a trigger for illness, not an illness in itself.
1 in 5 Britons in the working population are affected by stress. It is easily understood considering: the recession, widespread job insecurity (people losing their jobs, and those working in fear of losing their jobs), workers failures reaching the public, and a reduced workforce means more pressure on the individuals who do have jobs.
A survey of people in their 30s by the Institute of Psychiatry found the most stressful jobs were head chefs in big restaurants and construction workers under pressure to complete a building on time. Working to deadlines where failure is publicly visible, in extremes of heat or cold and without encouragement or support were the most stressful work environments.
Cary Cooper, professor of organisational psychology at Lancaster University and an expert on stress, said that: “On many scales stress now passes musculo-skeletal problems such as back ache as a cause of working days lost.”
Hospitalisations for stress are usually short, providing a refuge from the stressful situation, with supportive therapy to get workers back on their feet.
A prime example is the e-mail sent from an ex-employee, Kieran Allen, at MEC. Angry Allen’s e-mail has gone viral. The e-mail explains that Allen left the company after being loaded with work from departed employees. The stress became over-whelming and Allen had to be signed off from work for 2 weeks due to Work Related Stress.
On his return he was then presented with an official company verbal warning for poor performance along with a blocked bonus.
At BAAM we have been cognisant of the effects of stress since our inception. Stress is also a major influencer for people expressing their anger in unhealthy ways. Anger and stress are two of the most significant contributions to illness and premature death in the western world. The more stressed you are, the more predisposed you are to becoming irritable and eventually angry.
Anger-related stress can be particularly detrimental to health where it translates into addiction to alcohol or drugs. But, this repetitive cycle of being stressed then angry, and being angry about being stressed, is not all doom and gloom.
My new book ‘Mindfulness and the Art of Managing Anger: Meditations on Clearing the Red Mist’ provides a framework whereby you can integrate mindfulness into your life. These mindfulness techniques help to minimise stress in your life, by allowing you to drop into yourself, become fully aware, find a healthy balance between doing and being, and becoming fully attentive to the present moment.
Mumbo jumbo you say? I say read my new book: and then comment!
You can get my book here.