Work Related Stress

On an intellectual level, many of us realize that living with stress is unhealthy. At the same time, we often convince ourselves that work related stress is normal, we need our stress to motivate us for achievement, or that its just in the nature of our particular profession. While these beliefs may be seemingly effective in the short term (they get us to work in the morning, allow us to get our work done in a timely manner, and keep us employed), stress avoidance puts us at risk for future illness. Research has shown that high stress employment comes with serious health risks (http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/247781.php). Something of note in the research is the prevalence of risk in professions with an ingrained culture of minimization. It is clear that  ignoring, avoiding, and denying our feelings are not long term solutions. While we may increase our ability to just “get through the day” or “get the job done” we keep our pain alive and allow it to fester deep within our minds and bodies. So what is the answer to work related stress? I am not suggesting that we all have to quit our jobs and make significant life changes. I am encouraging the implementation of effective stress reduction strategies. Stress reduction therapies have been shown to have a significant positive impact on our physical health (http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/247731.php). Approaches that incorporate Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) with psychotherapy have been shown to be especially helpful (http://psychcentral.com/news/2012/07/13/research-supports-mindfulness-practices/41544.html). I strongly encourage anyone who hopes to reduce their current level of stress to seek a mental health professional with specialized training in mindfulness-based approaches.

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