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3 Kinds of Workplace Stress

Workers across America will tell you that stress levels are increasing. The demand for anti-depressants is up. Doctor's visits are increasing. Stress-related ailments are shooting up like a rocket.

There are many stressors behind all these problems, but the gurus generally classify the stress itself into three categories. Understanding the major types is the first step to controlling stress and improving productivity.

1. Acute Stress. This kind of stress is caused by recent events. It is significant but temporary. Small doses can result in positive reactions: the adrenalin rush and feelings of elation can motivate achievement. Too much, too often results in headaches, backaches, upset stomach, and other tension-related responses.

2. Episodic Acute Stress. This type stress is caused by frequent exposure to stressors. These people are generally over committed, lack the time and ability to accomplish everything, and they often find themselves at odds with coworkers. This is much more serious than the first kind. Irritability turns to anger, occasional tension headaches become frequent migraines, heart palpitations lead to chest pain, and high anxiety becomes a way of life.

3. The third category is chronic stress. This is related to the others but carries none of the thrill or adrenalin rush found with acute stress. The long-term nature of chronic stress is such that people actually become accustomed to the stressors and accept them as a way of life; they see no escape from poverty, job mismatches, abusive situations, or physical hardships.

What kind of stress do you observe in your workplace? Are some of your people plagued with tension headaches and back aches? Are some of them even more stressed, displaying anger and migraines? Or, do you have some people who are so far over the edge that they have basically given up hope as characterized by chronic stress?

How much is all of this costing your company? Good leaders recognize the effects of stress and understand that it costs a lot in medical benefits, insurance costs, absenteeism, workers comp, accidents, quality, productivity, and profits.

Find out more about the effects of workplace stress and specific ways to overcome this drain on American business. Send email to MailTo:3stressors@s....

You'll receive a 3-session e-Workshop about some of the top 10 causes of workplace stress. You can control stress in your workplace and turn all that energy into productive activity. Your workplace can be both pleasant and profitable.


Dale Collie (collie@c...) is a former US Army Ranger, business owner, and corporate president. He has taught at the US Military Academy at West Point and was selected by Fast Company magazine as one of America's Fast 50 innovative leaders. He is a professional speaker and author of "Winning Under Fire: Turn Stress into Success the US Army Way." (McGraw Hill)

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