Managing Stress with Taiji

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Relieve stress by Practising Taiji

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The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) defines stress as "the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressure or other types of demands placed on them". Pressure is part and parcel of daily life and helps keep us motivated both in our work and social lives. But excessive pressure can lead to stress that undermines performance, is costly to employers and can make people ill.

HSE commissioned research has indicated that:            
About half a million people in the UK experience work-related stress at a level they believe is making them ill. Up to 5 million people in the UK feel "very" or "extremely" stressed by their work; and a total of 12.8 million days were lost to stress, depression and anxiety in 2003-2004.
HSE key messages on stress:
HSE is working with businesses to enable them to manage work related stress more effectively.
Work related stress is a serious problem. Tackling it effectively can lead to significant benefits for organizations. There are practical things that organizations can do to prevent and control work related stress. Stress is a management issue which managers can help resolve.
Everyday, an estimated 27,000 employees are absent from work because of work related stress. However, only 13% of companies have implemented schemes to combat it. Stress at work is still not taken seriously despite its being one of the biggest problems facing employers and employees in the workplace today. Despite the cost to the "bottom line" in terms of increased cost and lost revenue in productivity, companies in the UK are doing little to deal with this growing threat. Click here to learn Primary Open-angle Glaucoma in TCM.
We will all have suffered from some form of stress in our working lives, whether knowing it or not. In these hectic times, stress isn't limited to the office. HSE also commissioned some research which identified that those working in the education sector, including non-teaching staff, are some of the most likely to be exposed to psychosocial hazards that can lead to work related stress. Furthermore, 42% of teachers and 23% of those in education and welfare roles report high levels of stress.
Additionally, there have been many studies conducted on the effects of stress on schoolchildren. Some research has even suggested that over 90% of schoolchildren feel stressed at school, the main reason often cited is doing well at school. In the year from April 1, 2003 to March 31, 2004, more than 900 children and young people called Child-Line, the free 24-hour help-line, about the stress caused by their exams-up from just over 600 in the previous 12 months.

If the government's own research through the HSE has estimated that 1 in 5 people are stressed at work, then we have a significant potential health problem looming in the UK. The Revitalizing Health and Safety Strategy was launched jointly by the government and the Health and Safety Commission on June 7, 2000. It is a 10-year strategy seeking to make significant improvements in workplace health and safety by setting targets for reducing incidences of work related ill-health and working days lost caused by injury and ill-health. Click here to learn Central Serous Chorioretinopathy in TCM.

The targets to meet by 2010 relating to work-related stress include:
A 20% reduction in the incidence of work-related ill health and a 30% reduction in the number of work days lost due to work-related ill health. That people not working due to ill health or disability are given opportunities for rehabilitation back into work or offered opportunities to prepare for and find employment. From an employer's point of view, this focus by the government on improving the incidences of work related stress should be seen as a positive step. An Employee Well-Being programme in the workplace could have a significant effect on the profitability of a company by:

Reducing absence rates through stress management techniques will reduce costs by spending less on other employees having to work overtime to cover the absentee. Reducing turnover as employees are more motivated to stay with a caring employer will reduce the costs of recruitment, selection and training.

Improving productivity through more staff being at work at any one time. These three positive outcomes contribute to a reduction in costs and an increase in income, resulting in an improved profit line for a company. However, companies need to invest time and money in looking for a solution that will help their employees.  Click here to learn Optic Neuritis in TCM.                                 '

So, what is stress and what problems both mental and physical can develop? The body has an inbuilt physical response to stressful situations. Faced with pressure, challenge or danger, we need to react quickly, and our bodies release hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline, to help us do this. These hormones are part of the "fight or flight" response and affect the metabolic rate, heart rate and blood pressure, resulting in a heightened - or stressed - state that prepares the body for optimum performance in dealing with a stressful situation.

Very often, modern stresses do not call for either fight or flight. Nevertheless, the same stressing hormones are released as part of the reaction and this natural reaction to challenge or danger, instead of helping, can damage health and reduce the ability to cope.                           

In the wake of the growing number of individuals experiencing stress at a potentially problematic level at home and in the work place, stress counselors and stress management companies are mushrooming. They promote their solutions to companies to help them manage this deteriorating situation. Click here to learn Phlyctenular Conjunctivitis in TCM.
Most of us at some time feel the pressures of modern life. We exercise a lot less than our parents and grandparents. Trying to achieve a reasonable work/home balance can often prove very challenging. Most of the time, we manage to "cope" with the situations we are in. However, for some people it has become so difficult that they look for some respite in drink or even drugs. All of these things are contributing to an increasingly unhealthy lifestyle, which makes us less able to deal with stress on a physical as well as an emotional level.

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