Managing workplace stress is key to combating serious health risks and preventing disability


By Stephen M. Pfeiffer, PhD

Managing workplace stress

may be crucial to long-term health, according to a recent report from the

Washington Post

While most of us experience some form of stress throughout the day, be it from work or family, health or economic concerns, today’s society moves at a faster pace – and subsequently, seems to expect a higher stress threshold – than may be healthy. If left untreated, stress can put you at risk for health problems ranging from reduced immunity and more frequent colds to Alzheimer’s disease, strokes and even heart attacks. Therefore, it is important to address persistent stress, and to seek help from a qualified psychologist in order to prevent long-term disability.

The dangers of perpetual “fight or flight”

Many studies have found links between high-stress careers and dangerous health problems; and just recently, a new study published in the journal

PLoS One

revealed that women in stressful work environments were 67% more likely to suffer a heart attack than those women whose workplaces were more relaxed. Because frequent stress leaves our bodies constantly primed for attack, it can be taxing on multiple body systems – chief among them being the heart. The Post notes that other risks of this perpetual “fight or flight” mode may include “diabetes, impaired immunity, worsening depression and gastrointestinal problems;” and based on analysis conducted by the American Psychological Association, many of us cope with stress in unhealthy ways ranging from lack of sleep to poor dietary choices, further increasing the risk for disease.

Reducing stress for better health

There are many paths we can take to reduce workplace stress – and stress in general – to benefit our overall health. However, while activities like exercise, meditation, massage or even a break from constant email and telephone access may help some people recharge, others may require professional help from a psychologist experienced in dealing with workplace stress and related trauma. After all, it doesn’t take a breakdown to prompt stress-induced illness; and even mild stressors can build up to an eventual burnout, immune deficiency or worse. If you are suffering from work-induced stress or anxiety, or if you are an employer looking to mitigate stress in your work environment, contact me, Stephen Pfeiffer, today. Send me an email at

, or visit me online at