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 levels 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. These 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% human resource managers argues that fatigue among employees has turned out to be a bigger challenge among employees 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 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, majority of the employees have been faced with the threat of losing their employment, thus most of them will be stressed due to this circumstance. Secondly, fear is another major cause of stress (Sedgeman, 2005). When one has fear of over 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 given event. Due to the uncertainty, the individual may feel threatened which leads to stress. There a number of other issues in life that causes stress such as death, sexual molestation, drug abuse, sexual problems, and argument with one spouse, and increase in an individual responsibility. On the other hand, there are 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 ones working colleagues. There are 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 are 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 failure when it arises without mental breakdown or other health complicated problems that arises out of stress. In the workplace the management should provide a conducive 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 guidance and counseling sessions to employees on how to overcome stress in the workplace.
Unless stress is managed among employees and at the individual level there are 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 most of the individuals who have suffered from mental breakdown have been 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 individual 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 give his best, therefore his level of input will be small and at the same time the level of output will be small. Low productivity among employees has negative impact on the overall performance of the organization. Stress among employees has in the past lead to low returns and in extreme cases resulted to 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 needs to come up with up to date stress management methods that are applicable in 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.