CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- What's the biggest source of stress in your life?
Many employees report that their jobs are very or extremely stressful, while out-of-control stress also costs companies through increased absenteeism, poor performance and bad attitudes. Which leads to decreased productivity and profits. Which can lead to downsizing. It's a vicious cycle.
Let's take a look at some of the common stressors cited by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health and the Institute for Management Excellence:
Top work stressors
And the No. 1 stressor:
When we feel powerless to do anything about such situations, a downward spiral can occur. Workplace stress can cause or contribute to a variety of health problems, including insomnia, headaches, depression, high blood pressure, muscle tension and exhaustion.
Women are 60 percent more likely than men to suffer from occupational stress, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics; and people who suffer from occupational stress miss four times more workdays than those with other occupational injuries and illnesses.
So what can we do about these stressors? Let's break down the first three, one by one. We'll tackle the others next time.
Fear of layoffs/job loss
No matter how hard we try, we can't have power over an unstable economy, backstabbing co-workers or temperamental managers. "People who feel they don't have control are the most stressed," says Dr. Barbara Reinhold of the Career Development Office at Smith College in Massachusetts.