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.
1. Study God’s Word regularly. Jesus is both the Word and the Bread of Life. To be spiritually strong you need daily nourishment from His Word. Begin your day, before leaving for work, with a time of study in God’s Word.
2. Pray and meditate. As with the study of God’s Word, prayer at the beginning of each day is absolutely essential for daily nourishment and to maintain balance.
3. Seek godly counsel. No man is an island. We all need help and encouragement. Do not hesitate to call on your brothers and sisters in Christ whenever you need help and encouragement.
4. Leave work at work. When you go home at night, leave your work in the workplace. Do not bring home the frustrations of work and pile them on your family. When you leave the job, leave the work there.
5. Get involved with the body of Christ. The responsibilities of the body of believers include bearing one another’s burdens and sharing fellowship and love with fellow believers. However, guard against sacrificing your family time for the sake of your church family. Both can co-exist. Spend time with the family as well as time with your church family. Know how to say no when the church begins to infringe upon your time with your natural family, but don’t use time with your natural family as an excuse to forsake the body of Christ.
6. Make a plan and stick to it. Determine that you will become debt free so you will not be required to work overtime. Determine to make time to spend with family. Determine to spend time in prayer and in the study of God’s Word daily. Determine to leave work at work. Once these determinations have been made, follow them.
7. Avoid bitterness. It only takes the slightest amount of bitterness to ruin your attitude and undercut the balance in your life. Identify the root cause of bitterness and eliminate it. Don’t point fingers at others. Instead, go to God with any bitterness, anger, or unforgiving spirit.
8. Give all to God. Give to God all the things you can do nothing about relating to your job and let Him handle any conflicts or contentions. Help somebody. Look around and see whom you can help or encourage. Many times our difficulties look smaller if we begin to help others.
9. Rejoice in the Lord. Begin to thank the Lord for your job. Thank Him for your ability to work. Thank Him for supplying your physical and material needs with income that your job provides. If we are thankful for what we have, He may very well give us what we want.
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.
Originally Posted 4/12/2013