Job Stress is the Major Source of Stress for American Adults
Stress is a major obstacle in life. A recent survey from the American Psychological Association (APA) states that nearly 50% of Americans are kept awake at night due to stress. And numerous studies have shown that cumulative and chronic stress are both linked to a higher risk of both heart attack and stroke.
Generation X (those born between 1965 and 1979) has been identified by the APA as the most stressed generation in the United States. This generation is now in the throes of parenthood, and one thing is certain — stressed parents are creating stressed out children. We might rightly call today’s cadre of children and teenagers Generation Stressed Out.
As Dr. Kristen Race wrote in Psychology Today (April 2018), “Stress is both debilitating and highly contagious, so it makes perfect sense that a generation of stressed-out parents is raising a generation of stressed-out kids.”
Stress in the Workplace Is Costly
Congratulations American workers and leaders.
According to an annual survey by the American Psychological Association, Americans have set a new record for stress and anxiety. While the most commonly shared explanation for these high levels of stress in the U.S. is the nation’s extreme political polarization, other factors include uncertainty about health care, medical bills, the cost of medication, the future of the nation, money, work, social divisiveness, the economy, unemployment, low wages, climate change, environmental issues, and trust in government.
In my work with leaders in Europe, Asia, Australia, and Latin American, I hear and see evidence of the same increased stress levels and a listing of the same causes (minus health care and medical expenses in Australia, Canada, and Europe — where national systems of public health care prevail). So high levels of stress are not just an American condition.
In fact, The Guardian newspaper reported that workplace stress costs U.K. businesses some £6.5B per year. While this pales to the estimated $500B per annum that workplace stress costs employers in the U.S., there is no doubt that workplace stress has a significant impact on profitability and productivity across the world. In many ways, we are all suffering the symptoms of the epidemic of stress sweeping the world today.
According to the American Institute of Stress (AIS) website, “Numerous studies show that job stress is far and away the major source of stress for American adults and that it has escalated precariously over the past few decades.”
We will go further into how stress impacts the workplace in a series of forthcoming blog posts. In the meantime, please see our workshops on Five Dysfunctions of a Team and Turning Workplace Conflict Into Collaboration for ways to reduce the impact of workplace stress on your organization and your bottom line.
This article is partially excerpted from my award-winning book Better Decisions Better Thinking Better Outcomes: How to go from Mind Full to Mindful Leadership, available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats. The book is the recipient of a Silver Award from the Nonfiction Authors Association for bringing “a comprehensive plan of action for improving life through recognizing decision-making patterns that don’t serve us well, don’t enrich our lives, and don’t bring us to our goals and dreams.”