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Stressed Out? It May Be Your Job

"I'm stressed out."

If you find yourself thinking--or saying--this on a regularbasis, you might have a real problem on your hands. Job andcareer related stress has been on the rise in recent years,as occupations become more complex, and workers are takingon more and more responsibility. In fact, workplace stressis now considered an occupational illness. Many employeesundergo stress as a normal part of their jobs, but someexperience it more severely than others, to the point thatthey need time away from work.

According to a survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics,extreme occupational stress is classified as a "neuroticreaction to stress." The survey found that thousands ofsuch cases are reported every year. The median absence fromwork for these cases was 23 days, more than four times thelevel of all nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses.And more than two-fifths of the cases resulted in 31 or morelost workdays, compared to one-fifth for all injury andillness cases.

Not surprisingly, the level of workplace stress seems to betied directly to the worker's occupation. In fact, justfour industries accounted for the bulk of occupationalstress cases: Services (35 percent), manufacturing (21percent), retail trade (14 percent), and finance, insurance,and real estate (12 percent).

In general, white-collar occupations had a higher proportionof stress cases than both blue-collar and serviceoccupations combined. Managerial and professionaloccupations, with 16 percent of the cases, and technical,sales, and administrative support occupations with 48percent, the highest proportions of occupational stresscases.

If you're stressed out, you need to look at ways to reducethat stress before it has a negative effect on your health.High levels of stress, over time, can lead to sleepingdisorders, high blood pressure, and other physical problems.If you think your work environment is too stressful, bringthe subject up with your boss or supervisor. See if thereisn't some way of reducing your workload, or taking away afew responsibilities so that you don't feel overwhelmed onthe job. If you feel yourself getting stressed out at work,try relaxing and breathing slowly and deeply for a fewminutes and see if this doesn't calm you down.

Away from work, exercise is a great stress reducer. For manypeople, a brisk walk in the evening is enough to unwind themafter a tough day on the job. I've found that yoga workswonders for me after a tense work day. After a half an hourdoing yoga poses and breathing exercises, I feel refreshed,and I sleep much better at night. Other people relax byplaying sports, or socializing with friends, or playing withtheir kids.

No matter how you relieve stress, just do it. You'll feel alot better, both physically and mentally. And if you can'tfind a way to manage your stress levels at work, you mightneed to think about finding another job.

Kent Johnson - author, publisher, career coach."Helping people realize their dreams one career at a time."Your Dream - your source for career tips and info==>

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