Stress is something many Americans have whether employed or not.
In a recent report, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that 14.6 million people are unemployed with the national unemployment rate at 9.5 percent. Stress is a common outcome for many Americans who are effected by fluctuating employment rates. Likewise, added pressure is applied to the current workforce of Americans with jobs.
The symptoms of both employed and unemployed can be similar in many respects.
Some working Americans suffer from symptoms of stress that affects their health indefinitely. A study on how Workers' Perceptions of How Jobs Affect Health conducted by University of Northern Iowa and University of California, Los Angeles found that “workers who had higher levels of perceived constraints and neuroticism, worked nights or overtime, or reported serious ongoing stress at work or higher job pressure.”
Unemployed persons are negatively affected by not working. The health issues associated with unemployment effect not only the person who is unemployed, but family and friends.
While there are a number of reasons for stress, the effects can be just as damaging to someone who is employed as opposed to someone who is not.
Working Americans who deal with stress may have a number of health issues from stress. Alcoholism, depression, weight gain, and lack of sleep are just a few of the common results of stress for the working American.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) found that cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal disorders, and psychological disorders are apart of several chronic health problems stemming from work stress that play a significant role in a person’s well-being.
Many studies have found that an increased risk of heart attack, depression, high blood pressure, heart disease are more likely to form in those who suffer from work stress. Other effects include burn out, lack of sleep, reduced productivity and performance in the work place and strains on personal relationships.
One of the worst effects of unemployment is the impact it has on a person’s family. Families which experience job loss are more likely to experience divorce. With an effect such as this, stress can affect the whole family.
According to NIOSH, other physical and mental health issues with unemployment involve mood and sleep disturbances, upset stomach and headache, and disturbed relationships with family and friends are examples of stress-related problems that are quick to develop. An unemployed person may also notice new financial and relationship strains, and behavioral problems with children, and a need for a modest life style.
In an article published by The New York Times, Dr. Kalil, a developmental psychologist and director of the university’s Center for Human Potential and Public Policy, explained that family dynamics have changed as a result from job loss, especially middle-class households. “The extent that job losers are stressed and emotionally disengaged or withdrawn, this really matters for kids,” said Kalil. “The other thing that matters is parental conflict. That has been shown repeatedly in psychological studies to be a bad family dynamic.”
According to NIOSH, “when stressful situations go unresolved, the body is kept in a constant state of activation, which increases the rate of wear and tear to biological systems.” The effects of stress can have damaging results, which render the body compromised, making it difficult for it to defend against disease and other harms.
The results from stress directly correlate to what is becoming a serious health risk for a vast number of Americans. To combat stress from work or unemployment, there are a few options for solutions.
People who become unemployed go through the seven stages of grief states one article. By going through the stages of shock and denial, disorganization, volatile emotions, guilt, loss and loneliness, relief and recovery the person combats the stress normally. By allowing oneself to accept what happened is the way to recover, and continue with life in a healthy manner, according to the article.
Another way to cope with stress from job loss and working includes nutrition, hydration, exercise, and relaxation, a more proactive approach Better Nutrition reported. By eating in smaller portions, hydrating one self with water, and physical activity all help reduce the amount of stress a person has. With daily meditation and relaxation techniques, in addition to the dietary and physical activity, a reduction of stress is attainable.
For those with job stress who want to take the stress reduction a step further, the American Psychological Society suggests making work breaks count, walking away when upset and setting reasonable standards. With additional personal time to mentally refresh, by regrouping when mad, and realizing no one can do everything will help the working Americans find more relief from stress.
With many Americans fighting stress from their current employment situation, stress and stress related effects are on the rise, which in turn can adversely result in poor health.