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Is Your Stress Level Stressing You Out?

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You are on “stress overload” if your symptoms include fatigue, withdrawal from co-workers, family and friends, decline in work performance and an increased need for escape activities. If these symptoms progress and if you are not careful, you may develop “stress overload” called burnout. Stressed-out people may be overly involved in their work, but burned-out people are almost incapable of working. According to psychological research, burnout occurs when the pressure and conflict outweighs the emotional rewards of a job. Working too long in a stressful environment can create a feeling of being out of control and without purpose. You may have a sense of futility and simply feel like giving up.

Burnout is often the result of unrealistic expectations imposed by the employee, the boss or a company. Employers who constantly point out problems in the employees’ work – without giving praise for accomplishments – set the employees up for eventual burnout. Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness kill motivation. Burnout is different than feeling stressed-out. People who are stressed-out can still be highly motivated. Burned-out employees will often leave the job and become physically or emotionally ill.

Depression is another serious consequence of unmanaged, unrelenting stress. A person may go through symptoms of major stress, progressing to burn-out and finally serious depression. Depending upon a person’s personality, they may slip into depression at the first sign of excessive stress. Much depends on their outlook on life, physical condition and other life demands.

Most people have experienced periods of depression. This is a normal reaction following a distressing event or loss. But when depression persists for weeks or months and interferes with relationships, family life, work or even physical health, it may become clinical depression. Clinical depression is a depletion of a biochemical in the brain, which causes irritability, fatigue, headaches, backaches, digestive problems and a feeling of hopelessness. You may notice sleep and appetite disturbances, emotional instability and crying spells.

Clinical depression requires professional counseling and medical treatment. As many as fifteen million Americans may be experiencing clinical depression without realizing it. Left untreated, depression can lead to significant health problems.

Emerson said that your health is your wealth. If you can manage the distress in your life, you will have a happier, more fulfilling life experience. Do what you can to achieve balance and never be ashamed to seek help and understanding.


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