November 2nd is Stress Awareness Day, a day set aside as a reminder of the many contributing factors to stress upon our bodies, especially the ones that produce perhaps an unwarranted amount of overwhelming and near-constant stress in the workplace. These factors include many things related to our working lives, including deadlines and other burdens related to job duties. It’s a proven fact that high levels of constant stress are deadly, but the good news is that there are more ways than ever before to de-stress, even at work, where most of them arise.
Stress Awareness Day – A History
Stress Awareness Day was established by the International Stress Management Association (ISMA) in order to provide information on stress, as well as strategies on how to address it — for both companies and individuals. The ISMA is focused on helping employers and employees help each other by providing comprehensive guidelines towards establishing a program within their organization, and with individuals by looking after their health and well-being on a day to day basis.
Awareness as Prevention
Stress Awareness Day, then, is a great opportunity to start looking after your life and wellness in a more conscientious way, and better address the various stressors in your life. Failing to adequately deal with the stress in your life effectively can lead to serious health problems, including:
Once you begin experiencing these symptoms they can quickly snowball and reinforce one another adversely, resulting in increased sickness, and by vicious-circle extension, further stress. It’s truly a self-feeding problem, and a cycle that needs to be controlled in order for us to be able to truly enjoy our lives.
The Science of Stress
A Science Daily article entitled, “How Stress Influences Disease: Study Reveals Inflammation as The Culprit” from 2012 relates some very salient wisdom regarding stress and its management. To quote from that piece:
“A research team led by Carnegie Mellon University’s Sheldon Cohen has found that chronic psychological stress is associated with the body losing its ability to regulate the inflammatory response. Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the research shows for the first time that the effects of psychological stress on the body’s ability to regulate inflammation can promote the development and progression of disease.
“Inflammation is partly regulated by the hormone cortisol and when cortisol is not allowed to serve this function, inflammation can get out of control,” said Cohen, the Robert E. Doherty Professor of Psychology within CMU’s Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences.
The Role of Technology in Stress-Reduction
The vast number of employees reporting an “overall negative experience” in the workplace (according to a recent Gallup poll) can be directly related to unmitigated amounts of occupational stress – either as an influence on or effect of said experience. Same difference. But, the good news is there are more technological means than ever to thwart the workplace stress demons. From therapeutic massage office chairs to aural environments created through healing frequencies and sounds that one can plug into via a good set of headphones – the means are there, and we need to be utilizing them.
Just last month, Thync Relax, the only wearable stress reduction solution for first responders, was announced as being used in high-stress jobs like police and firefighters, in coordination with The First Twenty, the US’s only nationwide program that supports the well-being of civil servants in high-risk positions. Up to 2 million police and fire officials are now able to use Thync Relax. And, if it’s good for those folks, it’s good enough for those sitting all day in front of computers as well.
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