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Stress Costs

 

Explanations > Stress > Stress Costs

Effects | Costs for the person | Costs for the employerSo what?

 

Effects

When you perceive threats, either through thinking or the immediate response of the amygdala, the fight or flight reaction is triggered, during which the hypothalamus causes the adrenal glands (which are situated above the kidneys) to release hormones including epinephrine (aka adrenaline) and cortisol that prepare the body for fighting or running away.

Epinephrine increases heart rate, increases blood pressure and increases energy. Cortisol increases blood sugar and prepares the system for repairing tissue damage. It also turns down non-essential areas including the immune system, and other processes for digestion, reproduction and growth.

When stressors go away, the body returns to normal, but if the things that create stress are constantly or repeatedly present, then the stress system is constantly turned on, leading to blood systems damage, exhaustion, digestive problems and other symptoms such as memory and sleep problems.

Costs for the person

The cost of stress for the individual is potentially very high, and many die or become unemployable through stress-related illness.

Stress can also affect your personal life, with stress at work overflowing into behaviors at home that harm your family and friends.

Even if you keep it to yourself, your loss of functionality, both at work and at home will affect people in both arenas.

Costs for the employer

Stress has high costs for employers. Data includes:

  • 60 to 80 percent of worksite accidents are the result of stress
  • Costs associated with stress may reduce U.S. industry profits by 10 percent.
  • 75 to 90 percent of visits to physicians are stress related.
  • Cost to US industry of stress-related illness is over $200 billion a year.
  • 20 percent of the total number of health care claims are stress related.
  • 16 percent of health care costs are explained by stress.

Other impacts include:

  • Reduction in cognitive ability and hence performance
  • Reduction in motivation and hence performance (and possible leaving the company)
  • Betrayal effects that lead them to sabotage or other damaging acts
  • Law suits for unreasonable behavior by the employer

So what?

When you are getting stressed, find ways of de-stressing. Also remember that tomorrow is another day, and if you want to enjoy your life, then building an effective

When you are winding up and overloading people to get more work done, remember to balance the benefit now with the potential high costs later.

See also

Tension principle

 

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