One third of Americans say they are living with extreme stress.1 Career Builder.com says that 78% of all American workers feel burned out (not just stressed.) Nearly 80% of all doctor visits are stress-related and 43% of all adults have ill health because of stress.
Stress is linked to the six major causes of death: heart disease, cancer, lung disease, accidents, cirrhosis, and suicide.2 How about you? How are your stress levels?
Check any questions that apply to you:
– You come home regularly dead-tired with little or no energy.
– The concept of vacation is inconceivable to you- you have way too much to do to go away.
– You don’t have time to exercise regularly or participate in your favorite hobbies.
– You snap at your loved ones and friends fairly often.
If 3 of the above are true for you, you may be hovering near burnout.
1. Being continually exhausted. Whether you are getting less than the 7 hours a night of sleep (the minimum to prevent cancer according to the World Health Organization) or you are working very long hours, this symptom is a wake-up call. Get a medical check-up, consider vitamins and supplements, and spend more time in play, in addition to getting more sleep.
2. Vacations: Expedia found that 34% of Americans don’t go on vacation at all!What’s scary about that is for women aged 45-64, two weeks of vacation cut their incidence of heart attack in half! 3 Expedia found most people feel rested and rejuvenated after vacation, are more productive and more satisfied with their marriages. A coach in Canada discovered that when his clients doubled their vacation days, they doubled their income.4
3. Exercise- You know exercise is good for you, improves your memory and slows the aging process. But did you know that it can also reduce stress reduction and increase joy? The Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports reported that runners were 70 percent less likely to experience high stress and life dissatisfaction. You don’t have to run, but do something physical at least 30 minutes 4 days a week. Tufts Health and Nutrition Letter says even a sometime workout can reduce the risk of heart failure by 18%.
4. Relationships are key. Snapping at loved ones destroys relationships. Whether they’re family or friends, they are critical to your health and well-being. Spending time with friends creates the release of oxytocin, a neurotransmitter that relieves stress and promotes euphoria. Those who had the most friends over a 9 year time period cut their risk of death by 60%.5 Whether with a friend, partner, a parent or relative, a key indicator in two different happiness studies demonstrate that strong friendships and connections lead to joy.6
Whatever you can do to change your life, reduce your stress levels and increase your joy is going to make a big difference, both in the short and long-term. Take care of yourself and the rest of your life will come into much better balance.
1. “Stress in US Rises, Causes Health Problems,” The Scoop, The Meeting Professional, March 2008, p.442.
2. Anschuetz, Barbara L. Dr, “The High Cost of Caring- Coping with Workplace Stress,”http://www.epilepsyontario.org/client/EO/EOWeb.nsf/web/The+High+Cost+of+Caring+-+Workplace+Stress
3&4. Brown, Sarah, “Clean Break,” Vogue, June 2003
5. &6. Taylor, S. E.; Klein, L.C.; Lewis, B. P.; Gruenewald, T. L.; Gurung, R. A. R.; & Updegraff, J. A. “Female Responses to Stress: Tend and Befriend, Not Fight or Flight”, Psychological Review (2000), 107(3), p.41-429.