• The Burden of Stress

    What is the burden of stress in your life?

    • Do you feel overwhelmed due to juggling roles and responsibilities in your life?

    • Do you think about work related issues when you are with family are with or friends?

    • Do you feel fatigued or tired even when you wake after adequate sleep?

    • Does your daily routine amount to feeling you are on a treadmill?

    • Do you have headaches, chest pain or problems with digestion, despite clearance from your doctor?

    • Is sleep a problem for you?

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    If you answer yes to any of the questions above, you may be experiencing stress.

    The good and bad news is you are not alone!

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    .The Harvard School of Public Health, along with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and National Public Radio (NPR), explored the results of a recent poll called “The Burden of Stress in America,” conducted by the three groups in 2014.


    When asked if they had had a major stressful event or experience in the past year, almost half of all respondents (49%) reported that they had. When our basic needs get frustrated, this gets transferred into stress,” said Gregory Fricchione (second from left), director of the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine.


    The panel included Joshua Riff (from left), medical director of the Target Corp., Fricchione, Kristin Schubert, team director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Robert Blendon, professor of health policy and political analysis at HSPH and Harvard Kennedy School.

    The survey asked about a number of daily events that can contribute to people’s stress levels. About half of those who experienced a great deal of stress in the past month report that juggling schedules of familymembers caused stress (48%).


    Other daily events causing stress for those who experienced a great deal of stress include: hearing about what the government or politicians are doing (44%), watching, reading, or listening to the news (40%), household tasks, such as cooking and cleaning (39%), and running errands (38%).

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    Impact of Stress on Work and Other Aspects of Life


    In addition to family life, social life, and health, about two-thirds (70%) of those who experienced a great deal of stress in the last month and are employed say stress impacted their work life.


    Half said stress made it harder to concentrate at work (51%), and 41% said it made harder to get take on extra responsibilities that could help advance their career. Over a third (37%) said it made it harder to get their work done on time.