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Anxiety and Stress Management

with Patricia A. Farrell, PhD

This blog has been retired. We appreciate all the wisdom and support Dr. Farrell has brought to the WebMD community.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Stressful Jobs and Depression Risk

Stress is a part of life and when it comes to our jobs and how we make a living, it’s something that requires our constant care and concern. Now a new study of 1,000 workers in Europe found that stressful jobs accounted for 45 per cent of new cases of depression. The factors which the scientists isolated as being especially important were excessive demands on the job and extreme time pressures. Not only did they find that these workers, with an average age of 32, were experiencing a high percentage of job-related stress-induced depression, but there appeared to be a 40 percent increase in reports from workers of job stress.

When economies turn sour, the heat is on in terms of producing the same with less workers or less in terms of resources. What do you do? The easy answer would be, as I’ve seen in some advice columns, to change your job. Not so easily done in an economy that appears to be shrinking, nor is it always possible to fit in a college degree or time to learn additional skills. To preserve your mental and physical health, you have to be the one in charge of your after-work life. How do you do that?

Begin when you get up. If you are going to have breakfast, do some in-place exercises while preparing whatever you’ll have. You can find easy exercises, requiring no equipment, on line. Next, plan something for any free time you might have to break the job-home-job cycle. Give yourself any breaks you can to get out and take a walk, sit in a swing, do some gardening (yes, even on your windowsill). Anything that will break the routine can be helpful.

One local radio station now incorporates a “daily laugh” into their programming where they play jokes from comedy club acts. Put some laughter into your life. I don’t care if you like The Three Stooges or Wayne’s World or whatever, just laugh whenever you can. See the humor in life and, yes, there is humor.

If you need a silly exercise, here’s one I use in my presentations. Wiggle your ears. You can’t? Have you tried? Give it a try and see what happens.

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Posted by: Patricia Farrell, PhD at 8:30 am

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