Stress is everywhere. It is one of the most common conditions experienced by people in the UK today. It is known to contribute to the more serious physical illnesses, as well as being a cause for obesity, itself rapidly growing in numbers. People going to work whilst suffering stress contribute to poor performance of businesses and services, and can be a contributor to poor care, errors, and disasters caused by lack of concentration. The financial cost to the UK has been estimated at £60 billion or about £1000 per man, woman and child.

Most organisations tackle stress at the wrong end. They wait until someone becomes ill, and then start to provide services to improve their health. This is too late. Stress is largely preventable, as it is mainly caused by events and poor behaviour that triggers a stressful response. Eliminate these events and poor behaviour, and people do not need to experience stress.

National Stress Awareness Day, on 6th November, 2013, raises awareness about stress, how to prevent it and how to manage it once it occurs. The emphasis is on promoting psychological wellbeing of people at work so that they can perform at their peak – ‘If you feel well you perform better than if you feel ill’. It’s about how people feel. People who feel great can often concentrate more effectively on what they want to do, and this is performance.

The theme for National Stress Awareness Day is ‘Going the Extra Mile’ – which is what happens when organisations are stress free. The energy, enthusiasm, motivation and concentration in a stress free environment, provokes people to have greater interest in others and to contribute more – ‘Going the Extra Mile’.

National Stress Awareness Day is sponsored by The International Stress Management Association. ISMA volunteers around the UK will be helping businesses and services raise awareness about the prevention and management of stress at work.

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