How Does Stress Affect Us?

The subject of stress has become a favorite subject of everyday conversation. It is not unusual to hear friends, coworkers, family members, and ourselves, talk about the difficulty we have with managing the stress of everyday living. We talk about being burned out, overwhelmed and "losing it." We also hear and talk about our efforts to control the events that cause stress, and most of us understand the results of not controlling our reactions to stress. Yes, we know that stress may cause heart disease. But most of us are unaware of the many other emotional, cognitive and physical consequences of unmanaged stress.

Stress is expensive. We all pay a stress tax whether we know it or not. Currently, health care costs account for approximately 12 percent of the gross domestic product, escalating yearly. In terms of lost hours due to absenteeism, reduced productivity, and workers' compensation benefits, stress costs American industry more than $300 billion annually, or $7,500 per worker per year.

While stress plays havoc with our health, productivity, pocketbooks, and lives, stress is necessary, even desirable. Exciting or challenging events such as the birth of a child, completion of a major project at work, or moving to a new city generate as much stress as does tragedy or disaster. And without it, life would be dull.

If you think you need help managing stress in your life, Talk To Someone Who Can Help.

Adapted from The Stress Solution by Lyle H. Miller, Ph.D., and Alma Dell Smith, Ph.D.

Talk to someone who can help.