Does Stress Discriminate?

by Denise Berger


“AAARRRGGGHHH!!!!!! I am sooooo stressed!” How many times have you been screaming those words - - in your head - - while externally you look calm, cool and collected? You may have just come from a business meeting and now rush frantically to your child’s school… or you may be sitting in a pediatric appointment, the doctor is running late, and now you fear that you will miss a scheduled meeting back in the office. How about the times when little errands creep into your day’s plans, or something breaks in the house, the school calls that your child is sick, or your husband asks you to pick up / drop-off something because he, himself, hasn’t the time. All of a sudden you find yourself in a pressure cooker, taking on too much for the amount of waking hours in the day. There are countless examples when our working and personal worlds collide, when there aren’t enough minutes in the day, and the boss is calling, the kids are fighting, the husband is asking, the school is requesting, the house needs fixing, the “to do” list is growing, the deadlines are approaching. Don’t you just want to scream sometimes?



The impact of stress has relevance to both genders and all age groups, actually, and bears direct influence on the economy, business, families and our environment. Colleen Contreras and Jim Claitor, authors of the book Build the Life You Want and the program, provide the following staggering statistics:


Up to 9 out of 10 visits to a general / family doctor in the US are due to stress – which fuels the much-debated high costs of medicine;


Annual cost of work time lost due to stress equals $30 billion in the US alone – affecting productivity of our businesses;


40% of worker turnover is due to stress – The cost of turnover is between $3,000 and $30,000 per employee, and as high as 6-digits for highly skilled employees, not including lost productivity; and


$300 billion, or $7,500 per employee, is spent annually in the US on stress-related compensation claims, reduced productivity, absenteeism, health insurance costs, direct medical expenses (nearly 50% higher for workers who report stress), and employee turnover.


And, it is not just the person under stress who is impacted; it is also those around us, including our children. In the Mommy Track'd Newsdesk feature called “Kids Want Parents to Chill Out, ” a recent finding by the The Families and Work Institute is cited -- wherein surveyed children between the ages of 3-10 wished their parents to be less stressed and tired, above all other choices about their parents’ work lives.




I agree 100% that Americans work too much...especially in the wintertime it kills me to spend all of the 'daylight' hours away from my daughter, who is three and really just wants mommy to bring her to the park...


Thank you for this great piece of writing, Ms. Berger. There are times I feel like my heart is going to burst because of constant interruptions. I think, "Do my children NOT see that I am WORKING? Do they have NO respect for ME?". I am learning, slowly, to chill when the kids barge in and this column is the perfect medicine for every day!