Stress caused by work is the second-biggest occupational health problem in the UK and, for respondents to the survey; work was shown to be the biggest cause of everyday stress.
Sixty-five per cent of people surveyed in West Yorkshire during October found that work and money caused the most amount of stress, with 54 per cent citing the challenges of juggling workloads and meeting bosses’ expectations as the highest cause of anxiety.
A worrying 20 per cent feel that bullying and internal working relationships caused a rise in blood pressure.
“There is such a stigma around stress and mental health in the workplace,” says York-based vitality coach and NLP master practitioner Lisa Clifford, who carried out the Stress Aware survey with 100 people in full-time work.
“Staff can be reluctant to admit they are feeling stressed because it is perceived as a weakness.
“When feeling under pressure it is natural to work longer hours, bottle up your feelings and wait until the end of the day to relieve the frustrations, worries and upset that stress can cause.”
The study also found that 30 per cent of people turn to unhealthy and often counterproductive alternatives such as drinking, smoking and over-eating to help relieve and cope with stress. Another survey revealed this week that people who ate processed food were more likely to suffer depression.
“Understanding the warning signals is key in managing everyday stresses,” says Lisa.
“A glass or two of wine or a ‘treat myself’ takeaway may feel like immediate stress relief but by turning to bad habits we make our bodies and our minds less able to cope with life.
“Unsurprisingly, the survey showed that energy levels were higher for workers who deal with stress by talking to someone about their issues compared to those who go home and turn to alcohol, food or taking out their frustrations on their loved ones.
“Simply talking out loud, sharing your worries and ultimately, forming an action plan to help you find your way through difficult times really does work,” she said.
Lisa is introducing half-day stress workshops to help identify the warning signs of stress and to introduce new coping mechanisms.
“Stress happens to us all and affects us all in very different ways,” she added.
“It’s simply a case of reprogramming your mind, identifying your triggers and learning new techniques for not only coping with stress, but enjoying your life to your full potential.”
This article was published in the Yorkshire Post on 4th November 2009.