It’s National Stress Awareness Day! But why is stress awareness so important? There is still a lot of misunderstanding about the effects of excessive pressure and what is and what is not ‘real stress.’ And in many organisations a macho culture still prevails, where working under extreme, prolonged pressure can be seen as a rite of passage. Personally I have worked in a number of such environments and I never saw the problem with it at the time. That was until I learned I had a damaged liver and became quite ill.
There has been lots of anecdotal evidence about the links between our physical and mental wellbeing but now research is catching up. In 2015 The University of Edinburgh published results of a 10 year study looking to connect psychological wellbeing and liver failure. The research involved 165,000 participants who were surveyed for mental distress. They were each tracked over 10 years and those who died had there reason for death recorded and categorised. The research found that those who had scored highly for signs of stress and depression were far more likely to suffer fatal liver disease. This pointed to a clear link between the psychological conditions of stress and depression and the physical health of the hepatic system.
To look at this another way; would many sensible people endure a job that required them to drink excessive amounts of alcohol every day, knowing the long-term damage they were likely causing to their body? It’s hard to imagine they would …
Perhaps one day we will view the exposure to excessive pressure in the same light as binge drinking? Perhaps one day we’ll understand the real damage being caused to our bodies in return for a few extra silver coins?
Until then we can at least continue to improve awareness and education in this area, making the workplace a safer environment for both body and mind.
National Stress Awareness Day is a great place to start or revitalise the efforts in your organisation. We have certainly got lots going on at Resilient People and are always happy to share our insights. Just give me a call if you think we might be able to help.