Stress at work is killing us

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Journalism at Michigan State University

According to a Harvard Business School study, job-related anxiety contributed to more than 120,000 deaths in the year 2015, and Joe Robinson believes the reason why is stress due to working several hours a week and individuals placing too much pressure on themselves.

Robinson is a work-life balance trainer and is one of the most quoted work-life experts in the country regarding stress management. Robinson has been on the Today Show, CNN, NPR, and several other media outlets informing people on how to properly balance their work and social life schedules.

“People are more stressed today than 30 years ago,” Robinson said.

Robinson says that the reason we are more stressed as a nation is due to recessions, job insecurity, overworking, and company downsizings. He believes that this leads to people feeling out of control which ultimately leads to a very stressful living environment, which he says can be very unhealthy.

“Technology has also played a hand in creating a more stressful life. Answering emails and always checking your phone for important business messages can be very daunting. I believe switching to a 35-hour work week would be very beneficial to reducing stress,” Robinson said.

Michael Clements, a sales engineer at Fuchs’ Lubricants, has noticed that the work field has gotten a lot more stressful over the years and he has always emphasized maintaining a healthy balance between work and play.

“I’m a really big believer in not having any regrets. That goes hand in hand with making sure you are on the right career path and enjoy what you’re doing so it doesn’t seem like work. At the same time you also need to find a good amount of time in your week to enjoy life, family, and friends,” Clements said.

Along with life being more stressful, Clements believes a majority of parents nowadays aren’t preparing their children enough for the real world.

“A lot of things you can obtain and achieve in life are accomplished by having a relentless work ethic and I think parents have given their kids one too many handouts and it affects how they prepare themselves for adulthood,” Clements said.

Laziness is another area Robinson focuses his teachings on. Robinson says it is not just physical laziness that adds to piling onto our stressors, but also mental laziness that can get us into trouble.

“Not only are people too lazy to get exercise but they are also too lazy to map out what is stressing them out. A reason for this is technology. When we are always defaulting to our devices and looking at our phones every minute this compiles the stress and doesn’t relieve what the real problem is,” Robinson said.

Hannah Young, a recent grad of Central Michigan University, agrees with Clements and Robinson about how the younger generation is lazier and aren’t quite grasping how the real world works.

“I think the advances in technology have definitely made us lazier. Along with being lazier a good majority of our generation believes everything should be handed to them and are entitled without proving anything,” Young said.

Young, who is a lead stylist and manager at a fashion boutique, works 40 hours a week and believes she is currently at a good balance between her work schedule and social life.

“I strongly believe happier people are healthier people so I try to keep myself balanced at 60 percent work and 40 percent play. I could definitely see a 35-hour work week being implemented though so people can focus on themselves more and take a step back from the stressors at work,” Young said.

Robinson believes that people need to be more aware of stress and how dangerous it can be to one’s health. He says we need to have a life outside of the job and take time off from work seriously.

“Fifty percent of heart attacks and heart disease diagnoses are related to stress. We need to understand that we need time for work recover and need to plan our weekends accordingly. Exercise, family trips, and hobbies, are all important ways to cope with stress at the office,” Robinson said.

Work-life balance has been a struggle for a long time now, but technology is adding another hurdle to the mix. We need to put down the technology and focus on what is the root cause of our stress.

“As humans we think ourselves into stress. If we just take a step back and realize we created this stressful situation, we’ll be able to live much healthier and happier lives,” Robinson said.

One thought on “Stress at work is killing us

  1. In Preventatist thinking, prevention means “Not letting the disorder start”, and not “early detection”. Therefore, if the responses to imaginary danger can be cut, like a surge guard protecting a computer from an electrical spike, then stress will be prevented from forming in the body, and creating the conditions in which unwellness can grow. Preventatism is a simple, learned philosophy which can provide permanent defence against stress 24/7, so it is quite unlike meditation, yoga and so on, because it is a sound structure, and non-spiritual, non-medical and non-religious. It cuts the link between the imagination and the reality of unwellness. It is very economic, but most effective when people meet regularly in a workshop and develop their own defence.