The silent killer.
I’ve been on this relieving stress kick lately, because stress can kill you. So when a study about stress comes out, I like to share it with you in the hope that it might help you detect the effects of this silent killer in your life.
A new Nielsen study shows that 80 percent of American workers are stressed about at least one thing. That’s actually a little better than the last one, which showed 83 percent, but it’s still way too high.
The report says “low pay is most often cited among those with household incomes of under $50,000 and those with less than college educations. The highest earners and those with at least college educations, however, are more likely to cite unreasonable workload and poor work-life balance.”
So here are the top stress-related complaints, cited by the survey respondents:
- Low wages (13%)
- Long commute (13%, which is 4 percentage points higher than in 2011)
- Unreasonable workload (12%)
- Annoying co-workers (10%)
- Poor work-life balance (8%)
- Working in a job that is not a chosen career (6%)
- Lack of opportunity for advancement (5%)
- The boss (5%)
- Fear of being fired or laid off (4%)
Many of these you can do something about. If you have an unreasonable workload, you can go to your supervisor and ask for help in solving that problem. You don’t have to complain. Just make it known that you could use some help.
We’ve all had annoying co-workers at some point (no, everyone is not looking at you, Shaney B!), but there’s no reason to let that person’s behavior determined the state of your mental health.
Work-life balance is something we can all do better. Keep this in mind: You don’t know how long your life is going to be, so to use up an entire day stressing over a problem that maybe you can’t solve that day, that minute or that hour is negatively impacting your health. It’s a sad reminder of just how precious life is when you hear or experience a loved one or a close friend passing away. But it’s a fact of life. And when you hear about it, it’s a reminder that life is precious.
When I get together with some close friends, which usually happens several times a week when I get off the radio, we have one rule: Find something to laugh about.
I certainly understand how challenging some of the above things can be. But what determines the state of your mental health is not so much whether stressful things are happening around you, but how you choose to deal with them. I really want to encourage you to approach sources of stress in constructive ways, because I want you to be healthy and well.
There are enough things in this world that can give us problems. Don’t let a silent killer like stress take you out when it should be you who’s controlling it.