By Mathew McKay
Rawlins Daily Time
RAWLINS — Stress is a normal feeling millions of workers across the county have, whether from working overtime, working two jobs, covering extra workloads, the daily grind or simply working a job they may not fully enjoy.
A survey from the American Psychological Association (APA) showed that more than one-third of American workers experience acute work stress — stress related to demands and pressure. As many as 50 percent of employees admit they stay up late stressing about work.
While the stress rate is high at work, it can be just as high for those without work. And businesses and employers in Wyoming know this all too well.
In 2016, Wyoming saw its oil and gas prices fall and the energy industry plummet, hitting the state’s coffers and leaving many without work. According to the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services, the number of unemployed Wyomingites grew to 17,053 in June 2016, compared to 12,000 in June 2015.
In either case, for those employed and unemployed, stress is the number one reason for health concerns and visits to the doctor. According to The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, 75 to 90 percent of all doctor visits are stress-related.
Some of the most basic health concerns of stress are chest pains, elevated blood pressure, headaches, upset stomachs, lack of sleep and memory impairment. Some of the more severe results of stress include diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
In contrast with those who struggle with acute stress, studies show people who have been laid off and deal with chronic stress are more common to shut down emotionally and spiritually.
According to the APA, chronic stress “is the grinding stress that wears people away day after day, year after year” and “kills through suicide, violence, heart attack, stroke and, perhaps, even cancer. People wear down to a final, fatal breakdown.”
While unemployed people may seem to have more availability to help themselves relieve stress, it is those same people who have a harder time staying active, healthy and involved.
In fact, the 2011 Public Health National Prevention strategy series showed that laid-off workers were 54 percent more likely to have fair or poor health and 83 percent more likely to develop stress related health conditions.
The biggest difference between acute stress and chronic stress is lack of security.