Why work is killing you (and what you can do about it)


First aired on Metro Morning (30/7/13)


Does work stress you out? You're not alone. But workplace stress is a bigger problem than we all realize: it could be killing you. David Posen, a doctor who specializes in stress relief, wants to do something about this and he outlines how to keep stress manageable in his new book, Is Work Killing You? 

When asked if work if indeed killing us, Posen is confident. "Absolutely," he said to Metro Morning host Matt Galloway. "It raises blood pressure, cholesterol and leads to heart disease. It leads to insulin resistance, which can lead to diabetes." And that's not all. "It also kills energy. It kills people's spirit." It also kills the thing your boss might be most concerned about: productivity. "When people are over-stressed, they are actually less productive. So not only is it employees suffering and struggling, but the employer isn't getting full value either."

Posen has seen an increase in work-related stress over the years and he attributes this to what he calls the "velocity of the workplace." Employees are expected to do more work and better work with fewer resources and benefits -- and this is true across industries. "People have become very impatient and expectations are so high. People are asked to keep running faster and faster, which, at some point, not everybody can do," he said. "Then the expectation is such that you feel if you can't keep up, you feel as if there is something wrong with you."

So how do we keep our workplace stress manageable, especially if you work in an environment that doesn't prioritize employees' well-being? Posen's advice is tried and true, and it works. Exercise every day. Get enough sleep every night. "Sleep deprivation shows up in your body as stress." Compartmentalize your work. And when you feel overwhelmed, stressed out or find yourself losing focus, take a step away. Pushing through doesn't help your employer and it doesn't help your health.

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