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Although we are all aware of stress caused by finances and relationships, you'd be amazed at how many people are really stressed and discouraged over issues that relate to their jobs. Career counseling agencies are finding that job anxiety is one of the major causes of stress in our society. Health problems related to job stress is third only to heart problems and cancer as the leading cause of health problems. Of course, in many cases heart problems can be traced back to job related stress, and in many companies it is the number one contributor to poor health among employees.
According to a recent study conducted by the Northwestern National Life Insurance Company, seven out of every 10 workers in America suffer from job-related stress that affects their health, and 46 percent of all workers claim that because of work-related stress they do not expect their health to improve.
Every indication is that stress at work and in our lives in general is increasing. Although much of this job-related stress is caused by job mismatches—people being in jobs that don't match their natural talents and interests—some is caused by the rapid change in technology and how those changes affect responsibilities and duties in the workplace. So how do we deal with this stress?
One of the primary reasons we suffer from job-related stress is that our lives are out of balance. Even with automobiles, automatic washers and dishwashers, microwave ovens, riding lawn mowers, jet airlines, and cell phones—used to relieve the toil of labor and to provide more time—we actually seem to have less free time than our grandparents did. Why with all of these timesaving improvements do we still not have time to relax and reflect? It is because our priorities are out of balance. Rather than balancing our lives by working eight hours, delegating eight to ten hours for sleep, eating, and exercise, and then having six hours of free time to spend with family or to doing chores and maintenance around the house, many families feel they cannot be balanced. Some are so indebted that they feel they must work overtime just to make ends meet. Others cannot say no, so they commit time to others that should be spent with family. Time spent watching television takes a large chunk out of family time and home maintenance time. Of course it is understandable if work has caused so much stress that all people want to do when they get home is sit in front of the television, unwind, and forget about everything and everybody else.
Once balance is brought back into an individual's life and work is put in its proper place, stress will be greatly reduced on the job, even though the circumstances relating to the job might not have changed. That person might still be doing the same job with the same duties and responsibilities, but when balance is brought into the picture, the job that previously was causing so much stress will become easier to handle and easier to cope with.
The ideal job situation is to work in an environment you enjoy and do a job that you like that allows you to use your God-given talents to their maximum at a pace that is comfortable. This is not always the case. It is a fact that many people will be forced to perform duties for which they are not qualified or which they do not like, in an unpleasant work environment, because they need the money and can't afford to quit or don't have the time to look for another job. To these people, job-related stress could be devastating to their health if their lives away from work are out of balance. If changing the work situation is not a viable option, the following steps can be followed to help bring balance, which will result in reduced stress at work.
Although statistics show that job-related stress is one of the major causes of health problems, it is probably not going to go away in the near future. Some people will be able to change jobs or change job duties and relieve some of the stress. Yet others will have to face the fact that their job situations may not ever change. Those caught in stressful situations, though, do not have to struggle through life dreading their work; they can change their perspective. Even though their work situations may never change, they can relieve their stress by bringing balance to their lives—balance that is founded on the study of God's Word and on prayer.
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