Stress soars, and solutions are rare

StressStressed out? You're not alone.

We all have the normal pressures of everyday life -- job, family, deadlines, bills, bills, bills. Throw a possible recession and all of its financial uncertainty into the mix, and you've got 10 pounds of stress in a five-pound bag. In fact, a McClatchy Newspapers report claims American workers haven't seen this much stress since the last recession blew through in 2001.

Trouble is, with so much stress infecting the workforce, few employers are taking steps to address the problem. “By leaving stress unaddressed,” said Shelly Wolff, Watson Wyatt's director of health and productivity, “employers invite an increase in unscheduled time off, absence rates and health care costs — all of which hurt a company’s bottom line.”

Even your hometown can impact your stress levels. At least that's the implication of a recent series of lists from Bizjournals, which ranked the most and least stressful metro areas in the nation. Here's a hint: If you want to avoid stress, stay out of Detroit. Baltimore, meanwhile, came in 17th out of 50 metro areas in terms of stress, one slot behind Buffalo and just ahead of Birmingham. Washington D.C. ranked 15th.

How about you? Are you feeling more stress lately? What are you doing to fight it?


Bill Sheridan