Is Workplace Stress Sabotaging your Wellness?

Is Workplace Stress Sabotaging your Wellness?

We're hearing a lot about bullying these days - not just in schools and the twittersphere - but in our workplaces too. It turns out, this toxic behavior is much more common than we might think.

In fact, research has found that 75% of workers are affected by bullying at some point in their careers - either as a target or a witness. If you add in other kinds of counterproductive behavior -- like rudeness and incivility — the number would be even higher. Businesses are increasingly paying attention to what bullying and incivility cost them.

But what does it cost you?

Bullying and incivility have a direct impact on your health and well-being because they are physically and psychologically stressful. As I mentioned in last week's blog, job stress has a measurable association with inflammation. This gives the idea of "burnout" a whole new meaning! 

Inflammation is bad news for your health because it is linked to premature aging and many chronic diseases. For more information about natural ways to combat inflammation, see my blog: 7 Ways to Lower your Inflammmation Number without Medication.

Workplace stress also has an indirect effect on your well-being. New research has found that rude behavior is contagious and that it can erode your self-control.

Self-control and willpower are intimately connected. Without them, we have a hard time making progress on our wellness goals. Earlier research suggests that willpower may be a limited resource that gets used up when we engage in activities that require a high level of self-control and mental energy.

In a culture full of unhealthy temptations, do any of us need more challenges to our self-control?

Fortunately, there are steps that you can take to support your ability to make healthy choices, even in an unhealthy environment. For some ideas, check out my blog: 5 Ways to Engineer Greater Well-being.

Managing workplace stress and its effects are important parts of self-care — but they only get at the symptoms of the problem. To make real progress, we need to address the root of the problem - our workplace cultures.

Our work environment and relationships can help or hurt our wellness goals. As we work to build greater well-being, we are naturally led to notice their impact, and to change them if we can. Promoting greater civility is one way that we can support a culture of wellness in our workplaces — and support well-being for everyone.

Kindness is just as contagious as rudeness. Imagine what could happen if we created an epidemic!

What about you? How has your workplace culture affected your well-being and what have you learned? Please share your wisdom in the comments below!