East Jefferson General Hospital

I just came across an article out of Great Britain that featured a report from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. After studying work-related absence numbers, they report that stress is now the number one reason employees take long-term time off. Stress has overtaken cardiac problems, back pain and cancer for the top spot. The numbers are so startling they are deeming stress the "Black Death of the 21st Century."

The article also cites Cary Cooper who has co-authored a book about stress in the workplace and is a professor at Lancaster University. Cooper believes that the main reason for the increase in stress stems from work pressure that has now turned to chronic stress. While pressure can fuel a person, chronic stress can be debilitating.

While I have not sent the full report, I do believe that stress has increased to the point of health problems for many of us. Work pressure has certainly ramped up for most people. In addition, there was a time you could leave work and not have to think about it, but with the advances of cells phones, you are now in constant contact with the office.

Part of taking control of your health is to learn how to mange stress. It is vital to both your short and long-term health. The top five ways to reduce stress are:

Exercise – a good workout is a great stress reliever and promotes good overall health.

Sleep – make sure you get an undisturbed eight hours of sleep.

Unplug cell phones and computers – give your mind, eyes and attention a rest. Resting the brain is so important to stress relief.

Eat Right – cut out the fats and sugars from your diet that contributes to energy spikes and crashes.

Organize your life – one of the biggest stressors in life can be time consuming disorganization. Make an effort to streamline and organize aspects of your work and personal life that can lead to time saving.