Stress, Mindfulness, and Employee Well-Being

DMEC Staff

The Aetna Experience

By Andy Lee, MA

Chief Mindfulness Officer
Aetna

Stress at work is reaching epidemic proportions. Whether you are a teacher, a doctor, or a customer service representative, chances are very good that your job stresses you out. In fact, 80% of workers feel stress on the job, while 40% feel that their jobs are very or extremely stressful.1

Stress has long been recognized as an important driver of employee illness and absence. Stress has a powerful effect on employees’ health. It is estimated that 75% of all doctor visits are due to stress-related symptoms,2 and research suggests that 37% to 52% of all sick days are due to stress.3 Research led by the Harvard Business School estimates that altogether, work-related stress accounts for 5% to 8% of employers’ healthcare costs, and is linked to more than 120,000 deaths per year.4 Based on these staggering statistics, researchers often equate the overall impact of workplace stress to the effects of secondhand smoke.

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