Modern life is full of hassles, deadlines, frustrations, and demands. For many people, stress is so commonplace that it has become a way of life. Stress isn’t always bad. In small doses, it can help you perform under pressure and motivate you to do your best. But when you’re constantly running in emergency mode, your mind and body pay the price.
Stress & Heart Stress Adrenergic response Fright Flight Fight Rate BP Damage When you perceive a threat, your nervous system responds by releasing a flood of stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones rouse the body for emergency action. Your heart pounds faster, muscles tighten, blood pressure rises, breath quickens, and your senses become sharper. These physical changes increase your strength and stamina, speed your reaction time, and enhance your focus – preparing you to either fight or flee from the danger at hand.
STRESS RESPONSE PROTECTS, ENHANCES, ULTIMATELY DAMAGES. But beyond a certain point, stress stops being helpful and starts causing major damage to your health, your mood, your productivity, your relationships, and your quality of life. The stress response is the body’s way of protecting you. When working properly, it helps you stay focused, energetic, and alert. In emergency situations, stress can save your life – giving you extra strength to defend yourself, for example, or spurring you to slam on the brakes to avoid an accident. The stress response also helps you rise to meet challenges. Stress is what keeps you on your toes during a presentation at work, sharpens your concentration when you’re attempting the game-winning free throw, or drives you to study for an exam when you'd rather be watching TV.
It is estimated that 75% to 85% of all medical problems are related to stress. The Definition of "Stress” A specific response by the body to a stimulus, such as pain or fear, that disturbs or interferes with the normal physiological equilibrium of an organism. Chronic job stress may be bad news for your heart, especially if your lifestyle isn't healthy. 12-year study of more than 10,000 British government workers in white-collar jobs. The bottom line: Workers were 68% more likely to die of heart disease , suffer a nonfatal heart attack, or develop angina (chest pain) if they had long-term job stress.
Stress is like a violin string Too tight it will snap Too loose it is a limp string Right tension, life is a concert !
Common external causes of stress Major life changes Work Relationship difficulties Financial problems Being too busy Children and family Common internal causes of stress Inability to accept uncertainty Pessimism Negative self-talk Unrealistic expectations Perfectionism Lack of assertiveness Not all stress is caused by external factors. Stress can also be self-generated
Stress My Life is in the hands of any fool Who chooses to irritate me -John Hunter
Important New Findings According to a study by the British Medical Journal, chronic stress has been linked to the development of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, as well as other conditions. Researchers followed 10,308 British civil servants aged 35-55 over a 14-year period to sutdy the role of chronic job stress in the development of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. They examined the link between chronic job stress and metabolic syndrome, which is a group of factors that, together, increase the risk of these diseases, including high blood pressure, insulin resistance, central obesity (excessive abdominal fat, which has been linked to increased cortisol in the bloodstream, as well as several other health problems), and a few other factors. They found that greater levels of job stress did indeed increase people’s chances of developing metabolic syndrome. The higher the stress level, the greater the chance of developing metabolic syndrome.
Prolonged Severe Stress Strains the Heart Weakens immune system Damages memory circuits in brain Promotes mid-truncal obesity
Effects of chronic stress The body doesn’t distinguish between physical and psychological threats. If you have a lot of responsibilities and worries, your emergency stress response may be “on” most of the time. The more your body’s stress system is activated, the easier it is to trip and the harder it is to shut off. Long-term exposure to stress can lead to serious health problems. Chronic stress disrupts nearly every system in your body. It can raise blood pressure, suppress the immune system, increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, contribute to infertility, and speed up the aging process. Long-term stress can even rewire the brain, leaving you more vulnerable to anxiety and depression. Many health problems are caused or exacerbated by stress, including: Pain of any kind Heart disease Digestive problems Sleep problems Depression Obesity Autoimmune diseases Skin conditions, such as eczema
Because of the widespread damage stress can cause, it’s important to know your own limit. But just how much stress is “too much” differs from person to person. Some people roll with the punches, while others crumble at the slightest obstacle or frustration. Some people even seem to thrive on the excitement and challenge of a high-stress lifestyle. How much stress is too much? Your ability to tolerate stress depends on many factors, including the quality of your relationships, your general outlook on life, your emotional intelligence, and genetics.
Your support network – A strong network of supportive friends and family members is an enormous buffer against life’s stressors. On the flip side, the more lonely and isolated you are, the greater your vulnerability to stress. Your sense of control – If you have confidence in yourself and your ability to influence events and persevere through challenges, it’s easier to take stress in stride. People who are vulnerable to stress tend to feel like things are out of their control. Your attitude and outlook – Stress-hardy people have an optimistic attitude. They tend to embrace challenges, have a strong sense of humor, accept that change is a part of life, and believe in a higher power or purpose. Your ability to deal with your emotions . You’re extremely vulnerable to stress if you don’t know how to calm and soothe yourself when you’re feeling sad, angry, or afraid. The ability to bring your emotions into balance helps you bounce back from adversity. Your knowledge and preparation – The more you know about a stressful situation, including how long it will last and what to expect, the easier it is to cope. For example, if you go into surgery with a realistic picture of what to expect post-op, a painful recovery will be less traumatic than if you were expecting to bounce back immediately. Things that influence your stress tolerance level
Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are the leading cause of death in the World. Together, heart disease, stroke, and related diseases are responsible for 35% of all deaths. Considerable evidence has demonstrated that occupational stress contributes to CVD morbidity and mortality. Clinicians, however, usually do not consider occupational stress as a preventable risk factor for CVD. Work Stress and Cardiovascular Disease
29 – 45 % of U.S. workers say that their work is very or extremely stressful. 25% of employees view work as their primary cause of stress (NIOSH). It is estimated that up to 23 percent of heart disease related deaths per year could be prevented if the levels of job strain in the most stressful occupations were reduced to average levels seen in other occupations (Karasek and Theorell, 1990; Landsbergis et al, 1993). Generally the correlations are stronger for men than for women, although this may be because the biggest studies have not assessed sexual harassment, work- family imbalance, and other stressors that especially affect women. Cope with Grope How common is job stress?
Job Stress Health Cost Productivity Society Impact of Job Stress
National Institute of Occupational Health and Safety Job stress
Job Stress TOP TEN -Work Stress and Health Conference Sept 1995
Too much / Too little
Lack of 2 way communication
Lack of appreciation
Inconsistent performance management processes
Career & job ambiguity
Unclear company direction & policies
Treadmill syndrome – 24 hr workday
High-flying career women with stressful jobs are twice as likely to suffer from heart disease and the risk is greater with younger women, a new study has claimed. Researchers at Glostrup University Hospital in Denmark found that women who feel the pressure at work is "much too high" are 50 per cent more likely to suffer heart disease than their peers who say their job is manageable. Are women exempt from Ravages of Job Stress?
Being Angry, Stressed Can Cause Irregular Heart Beat
The profile: You're busy from the time you get to work until the time you leave, but you have little freedom while you're there. You don't have much say over how you do your job or the types of projects you work on, and you're always on someone else's schedule. The solution: These types of jobs—known as "high-demand, low-control"—tend to cause a great deal of psychological strain. Even if you can't make your job less demanding, finding ways to get more involved in decision-making will help ease the stress, research suggests. Overworked underling
The profile: You work your tail off, but you feel you don’t receive enough credit—or compensation. With lots of sweat (and maybe a few tears), you’ve made your bosses look good. Still, you haven’t received a raise, a promotion, or sufficient recognition. The solution: These so-called "effort-reward imbalances" are a recipe for stress, especially among very driven people who are eager for approval. Try discussing your career goals with your boss. You may not get the rewards you want right away, but you could gain some insight about how to improve your situation—and outlook. Frustrated go-getter
The profile: You feel like you’re all alone, and not in a good way. If you require help or guidance, your boss won’t give it to you, and when you need to vent, you don’t have a trusted ally to turn to. The solution: A good support system at work includes both practical support from your bosses (the resources and help you need to do your job well) and emotional support from colleagues. Too little of either could make you feel stranded on irritation island. Work on communicating your needs, both practical and emotional. If you want your boss’s help, be as specific (and persuasive) as possible, and make connecting with co-workers a priority. Castaway
The profile: You deal with demanding and verbally abusive customers, but through it all you’re expected—no, required—to swallow your resentment and maintain a facade of professionalism, calm, and courtesy. The solution: "When there’s a discrepancy between your internal state and the roles you’re expected to play at work, you experience what researchers call ‘emotional labor,’ Ask your boss for advice or additional training on how to handle difficult customers without feeling demoralized. Doing your job without taking abuse personally will leave you feeling better about yourself. Door Mat
The profile: You’re terminally exhausted, both physically and emotionally, to the point where it becomes difficult to function. You feel as if you’re on the verge of a breakdown. The solution: Although the word "burnout" is used loosely, the technical definition is severe exhaustion stemming from prolonged work-related stress. Burnout occurs most often in very charged, high-stakes work environments (such as ERs). But it can occur in just about any stressful job. If you’re experiencing burnout, discuss it with a supervisor and explore whether you can take time off or even a leave of absence. Burnout
The profile: Work just isn’t fair. Your boss plays favorites, management decisions are mystifying and arbitrary, and employees are treated like children. The solution: Workplaces that aren’t fair, transparent, and respectful lack what’s known as “organizational justice,” and they’re likely to have stressed-out employees. “Pretty much anytime an individual feels they are being dealt with differently or unfairly, it places potentially harmful stress on them,” You only have so much control over the atmosphere at work. However, raising your concerns with a trusted superior or HR rep may leave you feeling less burned out—and less stressed. Wronged victim
The profile: Your boss insults you, gives you impossible deadlines, assigns you busywork just because she can, and dresses you down in front of your colleagues. Or you’ve seen her do those things to others—and you’re worried that you’re next. The solution: Bullying isn't restricted to the playground; it appears to be on the rise in offices too. If you feel you're the victim of a bullying boss, you can try to mollify him or confront him as a group Bully target
The profile: Thanks to the Blackberry, cell phone, and laptop your company so generously provided, your boss can now reach you 24/7. You're constantly (if virtually) connected to the office, and your work and personal life are indistinguishable. The solution: “ Technostress is an important and growing issue,” To protect yourself from mental and physical strain, learn how to unplug (literally). Set aside blocks of time when ou turn your electronics off. Tech prisoner
Covert coping was listed as "letting thing pass without saying anything" and "going away" despite feelings of being hard done by colleagues or bosses. Men who often used these coping techniques had a two to fivefold higher risk of developing heart disease than those who were more confrontational at work, the study showed. Men who bottle up their anger at being unfairly treated at work are up to five times more likely to suffer a heart attack, or even die from one, than those who let their frustration show, a Swedish study has found. Covert Coper or Overt confronter
Stress Warning Signs and Symptoms Cognitive Symptoms Memory problems Inability to concentrate Poor judgment Seeing only the negative Anxious or racing thoughts Constant worrying Emotional Symptoms Moodiness Irritability or short temper Agitation, inability to relax Feeling overwhelmed Sense of loneliness and isolation Depression or general unhappiness Physical Symptoms Aches and pains Diarrhea or constipation Nausea, dizziness Chest pain, rapid heartbeat Loss of sex drive Frequent colds Behavioral Symptoms Eating more or less Sleeping too much or too little Isolating yourself from others Procrastinating or neglecting responsibilities Using alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs to relax Nervous habits (e.g. nail biting, pacing)
How job stress leads to cardiovascular disease?
Cost of Stress Job stress is costing US Industries $ 300 Billion annually Diabetes is costing US $132 billion in 2002 In UK Heart disease cost Pounds 1.73 billion in1999 2.42 billion in informal care and 2.91 billion in “ friction period adjusted loss” Total burden 7.06 billion 24.1% of Productivity loss due to mortality 75.9% to morbidity Absenteeism Decreased Productivity Employee turnover Direct Medical Cost Legal & Insurance fees
Preventing Stress at Work: A Comprehensive Approach
Stress management involves changing the stressful situation when you can, changing your reaction when you can’t, taking care of yourself, and making time for rest and relaxation How to manage stress? You may feel like the stress in your life is out of your control, but you can always control the way you respond. Managing stress is all about taking charge: taking charge of your thoughts, your emotions, your schedule, your environment, and the way you deal with problems.
Stress Management Good company Humour Freeze Frame Tai – Chi Yoga Meditation
Strengthen your relationships A strong support network is your greatest protection against stress.
When you have trusted friends and family members you know you can count on, life’s pressures don’t seem as overwhelming. So spend time with the people you love and don’t let your responsibilities keep you from having a social life.
If you don’t have any close relationships, or your relationships are the source of your stress, make it a priority to build stronger and more satisfying connections.
Tips for reaching out and building relationships:
Help someone else by volunteering.
Have lunch or coffee with a co-worker.
Call or email an old friend.
Go for a walk with a workout buddy.
Schedule a weekly dinner date
Take a class or join a club.
Exercise. Exercise, especially aerobic movement, is a great way to release tension and stress. Stress management techniques, such as biofeedback, yoga, and tai chi, are also excellent ways to treat and reduce the physical symptoms of stress. Try massage therapy, aromatherapy, or meditation. Stretching and controlled breathing can also reduce tension. Talk. Take a break from the stress and talk out your problems with a trusted listener. Sharing burdens with a loved one helps reduce your load, even if just psychologically. Organize. Prevent stress by staying on top of your responsibilities. Reduce your commitments to keep your schedule under control. Don’t take on more than you can handle, and don’t force yourself to multi-task if it’s stressing you out or the tasks are suffering for it. And remember to save time for fun. Five Stress Reduction Techniques
Commit. Treat your body right: eat a healthy diet, take a multi-vitamin, make sure you’re getting enough sleep, and avoid alcohol and other Legal: illegal drugs that may contribute to overall lack of health. Escape. When nothing else seems to work, it’s OK to escape the source of stress. Whether it’s taking a short break from the stressful task at hand, or treating yourself to a well-deserved vacation, getting physically away from the stress center will help you mentally remove yourself as well. Five Stress Reduction Techniques contd…
The Taboos Tobacco in any form - Definite NO NO Smoking, chewing and snuff of Tobacco Increases incidence of brain strokes Heart attacks and peripheral vascular disease
Cigarette smoking increases risk 2-3 fold and interacts with other risk factors to multiply risk
The Taboos Moderate = 300 ml of Beer 60 ml of liquor “ The French Paradox” Red Wine= 2-3 glasses/day Makes blood less sticky, reduces LDL, Has antioxidant - bioflavinoids
The Taboos Sex and Heart Sex does not adversely affect the heart, Sexually transmitted diseases do Use of “Viagra” in known heart patients Can cause fatalities Normal Sexual activity can be resumed After heart attacks and heart surgery