With longer hours and a rise in dual-income families, stress may have reached an all-time high. This high stress is despite the fact that technology is supposed to have made work life, social life and home life easier. Instead of taking care of everything extra for us, automating processes has only led to greater expectations that we actually take on even more in our roles at work and at home. Ongoing volatile economic cycles, increased competition for available jobs, and financial pressures to maintain a certain lifestyle have created a recipe for high levels of workplace stress.

Statistics on Workplace Stress

Validating this rise in stress, the Global Organization for Stress compiled statistics from numerous sources and organizations that shows the common occurrence of workplace stress. For example:

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America also conducted a study related to workplace stress and anxiety orders, finding that stress is hurting job performance and quality of life. The report found that 72% of those surveyed had daily stressed that they felt interfered with their lives to some degree while 40% noted they had persistent stress as part of their life.

The stress people are feeling and dealing with comes from many sources such as concern over meeting deadlines, problems that arise at work, concern over job security, and issues with co-workers, teams and includes other people in close association with them, such as family and friends. While there will always be pressure in a work environment, these specific sources either occur altogether or the problems appear not to have a viable solution.

Impact of Workplace Stress

The impact of this workplace stress goes beyond just the effects it causes at work. All aspects of life tend to be impacted by the stress they feel on the job. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America's survey reported that employees believed that this stress adversely impacted their performance, work quality, and relationships with colleagues and superiors. This stress then comes home with these workers, interfering with personal lives and relationships with loved ones like spouses and family.

To combat the effects of stress, many individuals admitted that they have turned to prescription medication to manage the stress and related symptoms, such as emotional problems, insomnia, and nervousness. Others have turned to alcohol or drugs to deal with the effects of intense daily stress or some continue to suffer substance abuse relapses related to the stress. Many find solace in food, caffeine, and smoking. None of these temporary solutions are healthy, nor do they actually provide any real lasting relief from stress. Instead, these brief "fixes" can put you at risk for many other additional stressors such as addictions that are difficult to get past and may even compromise your career, health and personal life.

Coping Mechanisms for Stress and Symptoms

Even switching jobs may not necessarily be of help. Since stress is so prevalent, it's more than likely that you could be merely trading one type of stress for another. Even if you become a freelancer or start your own business - stress will happen. Wherever the stress is coming from, it's important to realize that stress is the new reality. The best approach to dealing with this continuing problem is to develop some coping mechanisms rather than putting your energy into fighting it or trying to control things that you cannot control. Here are some ways to cope with stress in healthy ways, minimize some of the symptoms, and help discourage turning to things that can breed addictive behavior:

Request time to work from home in a telecommuting role
Seek counseling or group therapy to vent
Develop an action plan that defines where stress comes from and ways you might diffuse it
Seek creative outlets that give you the channel to express your feelings
Meditate and breathe deeply
Turn to your faith.
Vent to loved ones
Participate in activities that divert your mind from the stress
Learn to relax
Play with your kids or a pet
Unplug from electronics.
3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Watch your diet.

Whether you practice these habits before, during, or after work, these coping mechanisms provide emotional, physical, and mental outlets from the situations, problems, and people who you cannot control in your workplace. Stress doesn't have to ruin your health, work performance, or professional and personal relationships nor does it have to overly influence you to turn to those adverse behaviors that only further the stress and the outcomes from that stress. One thing is sure, you have to take care of yourself - it's your responsibility, and with a little planning, you can seamlessly incorporate health and a little less stress in your life. As Nike says, "Just Do It."