Work Stress is bad for your health

Work Stress is bad for your health

Is work stressing you towards bad health?

Do you live to work, or work to live?

Either way, work stress of any kind can be detrimental to your health.

Workplace stress can decrease your productivity and also place your physical health at risk.

Research from the Australian Institute reports that 3.8 million Australians often don’t take a lunch break.

One in two people said their lack of a lunch break was due to their busy workload. Of those who usually take a lunch break, 72% eat at their desks, cut short or postpone their break until the afternoon.

  • One in four had anxiety;
  • 3.3 million suffered loss of sleep, and
  • 50% lost time with their family.

However, being out of the workforce can also be very stressful, with one in five Australians reporting anxiety because of being out of the workforce.

1.1 million Australians feeling that involuntary time out of the workforce is also demoralising.

Males and Females Stress Differently

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When Dr John Gray developed ‘Men are from Mars & Women are from Venus’ he was insightful.

He was also highly insightful the way he mapped the male and female brain and how it functions and focuses on things differently.

There is now proof through neurological imagery such as MRI and PET scans.

Let’s firstly look at stress.

The studies have found that blood flow and activation in the brain of males and females are different during acute stress.

Males – Fight/Flight Response

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The left orbitofrontal cortex a region of the prefrontal cortex is activated and blood flow increased – this area is mainly used for decision making.

Other more complex issues include determining conflict, consequences, expectation of outcome and social control.

Females – Emotional Response

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The limbic system was activated with increased blood flow – this area is the ‘heart’ of emotions in the brain.

The limbic system is a very complex part of the brain as it controls many important functions of the body.

The limbic system also controls behaviour, long-term memory, hormone production and release (that influences heart rate, blood pressure hunger, libido, sleep/wake cycles), attention/focus, reward, pleasure and addiction.

Therefore, it influences all the endocrine, autonomic and pleasure centres in the brain.

Because females’ stress is based in the emotional part of the brain, it tends to linger longer than the stress of males.

This is one of the reasons why females suffer from sudden onset heart attacks (with no warning signs or risk indicators).

It is also important to note that due to the fight/flight response in male stress, males will either:

  • Withdraw until he can fix the issue (flight)
  • Increases in conflict, frustration, aggression and anger outbursts (fight)
  • Begin with withdrawal (flight) and when he cannot flee anymore or fix becomes angry (fight).

Females can have some similar responses but it comes from an emotional base.

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The gender differences have significant implications in therapeutic practice when managing long-term issues such as:

  • Grief;
  • Pain;
  • Loss;
  • Anxiety;
  • Depression;
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder, or
  • Long-term stress issues.

This has implications in:

  • Medication or Pharmacological Therapy;
  • Psychological Therapy;
  • Physical Therapy – exercise, physiotherapy, exercise physiology;
  • General Practice – your local GP, or
  • Workplace practices and Occupational Health & Safety Responses to Stress and Critical Incident Reporting/Debriefing.

Sometimes it takes someone outside of your life to be able to provide simple yet effective solutions to things that you struggle with.

If you are struggling with managing your stress Fit Minds & Bodies Clinic can help.

Seeking professional help shows your true strength and commitment to your health and happiness.

Fit Minds & Bodies Clinic provides you with new skills and tools to empower you to create a life that you want to live – happy, purposeful, fulfilled and healthy.