Cases of stress have been on the rise in the recent years. For instance, a recent study indicates that about 44% of the American population argues that their level of stress has been on the rise for the period of the past five years, while more than 74% of the population argues that their level of stress is either moderate or high. This statistics on the levels of stress among the Americans is worrying. It seems that the issues that cause stress in the society have been on the rise in the recent times. High levels of stress are evident in workplaces, where 81% of human resource managers argue that fatigue among employees has turned out to be a bigger challenge than it was in the past. It is therefore, important to understand the various causes of stress, the ways of managing stress, both at work and at home, and finally the dangers of stress to individuals.
According to a number of studies, there are different factors that cause stress among individuals. First, when an employee or an individual feels that he is faced with a threat, he may find himself under stress (Sedgeman, 2005). The major forms of threats that lead to an individual feeling stressed include social threats, financial threats, physical threats and others. The situation is made worse when an individual has no way out to manage the stress threat in question. For instance, due to financial crisis in many organizations, the majority of the employees has been faced with the threat of losing their employment; thus most of them would be stressed due to this circumstance. Secondly, fear is another major cause of stress (Sedgeman, 2005). When one has the fear of the outcome of a given event, he is usually faced with stress. In addition, studies have shown that uncertainty is another major cause of stress. In life, each individual is always faced with uncertainties whereby one does not know the outcome of the given event. Due to the uncertainty, the individual may feel threatened which leads to stress. There is a number of other issues in life that cause stress such as death, sexual molestation, drug abuse, sexual problems, argument with one spouse, and increase in an individual responsibility. On the other hand, there is a number of factors that may lead to stress in the workplace. These factors include high demanding working environment, poor pay, and poor relations with one’s working colleagues. There is a number of indicators that one can use to identify stress among individuals in the workplace. These indicators include poor communication, poor feedback on role performance, and high rate of turnover among employees, sickness, absence, and bullying among employees.
In order to manage stress at individual levels as well as at group level, there is a number of measures that can be put in place. First, an individual should avoid fearful situations that may lead to stress. Secondly, one should accept the outcome of an event, whether positive or negative. This will help a person to deal with the failure when it arises without mental breakdown or other health-related problems that arises out of stress. In the workplace, the management should provide a productive working environment. Managers should also embrace the culture of encouraging employees to work in teams as this can help them share ideas thus overcoming challenges as a group which otherwise may have proved to be a problem to one person. Managers should also share responsibilities in order to avoid overstressing themselves with work. Organizations should also come with counseling department whose mandate is to offer employees guidance and counseling sessions on how to overcome stress in the workplace.
Unless stress is managed among employees and at the individual level, there is a number of negative side effects that stress has on an individual or an organization. First, stress can lead to mental breakdown unless it is properly managed. Studies have shown that in most cases, individuals suffered from mental breakdown as result of stress (Bower &Segerstrom, 2004). Secondly, stress can lead to death if not dealt with at an early stage. Due to stress, an individual may develop health complications such as high blood pressure or other forms of health problems. On the other hand, an individual may decide to commit suicide as a result of stress. Therefore, early symptoms of stress among individuals must be quickly dealt with to avoid death. Stress can also lead to low productivity among employees of an organization (Carlson &Heth, 2007). When an individual is under stress, he cannot do his best; therefore, his level of input as well as output will be small. Low productivity among employees has negative impact on the overall performance of the organization. Stress among employees leads to low returns and in extreme cases, results in the closure of business enterprises.
It is true that stress is a killer unless properly managed at both organizational and individual level. Measures need to be employed to overcome this alarming problem in the American society. Psychologists need to come up with up-to-date stress management methods that are applicable in the twenty-first century environment which is more demanding than in the past. In conclusion, one will always be faced with stress, but what matters most is how the individual in question responds to the stressing situation.