Thursday, 27 October 2011

Stress awareness is vital to improving health and wellbeing

Given the recent statistic that stress levels have doubled in the last four years (insurance company AXA), National Stress Awareness day on 2 November 2011, seems particularly pertinent. 

The aim of this day is to raise awareness of the stress in our lives so we can tackle it before it becomes a major problem and negatively impacts on our well-being.

Stress is the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or demands placed on them and it can come from many sources. However, not all stress is bad. Some stress can motivate us, prepare us to take action and alert us to danger. The problem comes when we remain in this heightened state of awareness continually for a long period of time. This can then lead to ill health in both body and mind.

Stress is difficult to measure in real terms, but one of the best ways to measure it is to consider its impact on our working lives.

According to a survey carried out this year by the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development, stress has become the most common cause of long-term sickness absence for both manual and non-manual employees. 

In 2009/2010, The Health and Safety Executive found that 9.8 million working days were lost due to work-related stress and health charity Mind recently estimated that £26 billion was lost by British businesses each year in sickness absence and lost productivity. They believe that with greater awareness and mental health support, one third of these costs could be saved, equating to £8 billion a year.

Evidently stress has a major impact on our work which in turn, has enormous implications for other parts of our lives. So it would seem that knowledge of stress management has become essential and more relevant today than ever. 

For resources on stress or to find out how to get involved in Stress Awareness day visit www.isma.org.uk/national-stress-awareness-day

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