Stress, secondhand smoke show similarity

Stress. It’s an overwhelming, frustrating reaction caused by a number of different factors, from what clothes to wear to what assignment to do first and how to study for an exam. Joel Goh recently studied work stress and the effects it has on those he studied.

During a series of tests, scientists recorded data regarding several stress-at-work factors, and the results could be fatal. The study showed a connection between various work-environment factors leading to deep stress and health problems, both self diagnosed and physician diagnosed. These factors include work-family conflict, job insecurity, low organizational justice and managerial processes.

Stress resulting from these factors has been found to cause mental and physical problems, leading Goh to suggest the effects of work stress are just as bad as second-hand smoke effects. Work stress has been responsible for 120,000 deaths and $190 billion in health care each year, resulting in financial stress, according to Boston Magazine. Goh has brought these numbers to the attention of managers and managerial staff and wants a plan to decrease stress levels and climates and make the work place a happier environment.

While managers advise employees to join a gym, meditate, eat healthier or quit smoking, Goh claims they are aiming at the wrong areas. These advisements suggest that the employee is the problem. Goh believes the managerial processes and work environment are more of the problem. Managers are advised to propose a way to fix these issues instead of fixing their staff. The studies conducted were aimed at employees. But what about students? Could school stress have the same results that work stress does?  Every year, there are approximately 41,140 deaths by suicide, mostly students, although there are a number of age groups involved, including employees. Students are put under a ridiculous amount of stress. We are expected to keep our grades high, decide on a major, be successful and get a job out of college, join a club or two, maintain socialization with a solid friend group, get enough sleep a night, stay active and have time to eat.

There are not enough hours in a day for a student to do everything without getting overwhelmed. Students often opt out of sleeping and eating, causing them to be moody and unable to concentrate, resulting in stress. Not to mention the three 5-page essays due in one day. We are told to work out, treat ourselves and take breaks, but is that aiming at the wrong idea? Is something else out of place? Students have so much on their shoulders, from friends to finals, it gets to be too much. It’s an issue working out can’t fix and eating will only make worse. Professors and presidents should be as interested in their student’s success and health (more than just suggesting workouts) as they are in their school’s income and reputation. They should implement stress-relief factors around campuses and throughout students’ days. Little things like a day with no homework or bigger things like kittens running around.

No student is going to be successful if they are stressed to the max. There’s time for that later, when we’re adults and can handle all of that once. At our age, we’re still growing and learning who we are and what we want. How can we do that when we are blinded by stress?