This quote is attributed to the German Philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche. And, as driven, ambitious Americans we seem to be constantly testing this quote by pushing ourselves harder and harder. Unfortunately, along with this kind of reaching farther and farther for something better, many people develop stress related symptoms and illnesses.
I recently read on FastCompany.com that job-related stress is costing American companies “an estimated $300 billion a year.” That tells me that we are one stressed out country and, as far as I can tell, the stress levels don’t seem to be getting any better.
Stress is known to take a major toll on our bodies. Stress can raise blood pressure and wreak havoc on the digestive and immune systems. Stress causes some people to over eat while it causes others to under eat or forgo food completely.
I’m not sure if that $300 billion figure is a result of employees taking sick days, under performance or what, the article didn’t specify. But, if stress is costing companies that much, imagine the medical costs related to stress.
The FastCompany.com article did report information they gathered from the Behavioral Science and Policy Association that states, “particular work stresses like job insecurity, for example, increase the odds of reporting poor health by about 50%, and high work-related demands up the odds of having an illness diagnosed by a doctor by 35%, not to mention long work hours, which have been shown to increase mortality by nearly 20%.”
Being ambitious and driven to accomplish our life’s dreams and goals is important. However, to be so fearful of losing our jobs or having impossible demands placed on us at the work place is causing unbearable stress and the cost is too high.
And that is just work place stress. Think about the other demands placed on us by our spouses, significant others, children, parents and society in general. There’s barely time to breathe.
Taking time to breathe, I mean consciously and deliberately, is probably the most important thing you can do for yourself if you are hemmed in on every side by stressful demands. Short, meditative moments can help you begin to see things differently. You might begin to change the way you respond to those demands too.
Many of our country’s most creative companies are bringing stress relieving services to their employees as these companies become more aware of the costs and the burdens placed on the employees. As the FastCompany.com article reports, “Companies are taking notice and also getting more creative in the process—trying out unconventional approaches to help employees better manage their stress.”
That is commendable. As more and more companies follow suit I am sure we will see even more productivity from those employees who do change the way they perceive the demands coming out stronger than ever before. It is possible to live stress free even while under dire circumstances. Our minds and self-hypnosis hold the key.
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