Are government workers more stressed than private sector workers? The not-so-simple answer is, maybe. The American Institute of Stress (AIS) teaches that stress is a highly personalized phenomenon that can vary widely, even in identical situations for different reasons. The severity of workplace stress depends on the magnitude of the demands that are being made and the individual’s sense of control or decision-making latitude he or she has in dealing with them. Scientific studies based on this model confirm that workers who perceive that they are subjected to high demands but have little control are at increased risk for stress. That stress can lead to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression and cancer.

Today there is a deep sense of powerlessness in the workforce, which as described above is the root cause of workplace stress. The key to taking back control of your emotions and health is to change the way in which you respond when the symptoms of stress surface. We sometimes create our own stress because of habits and personality traits that can have harmful effects.

Dr. Daniel Kirsch, president of AIS, tells us that “any negative impacts made by these habits and traits, can be reduced using cognitive restructuring techniques such as behavioral modification, biofeedback, hypnosis, assertiveness training, time management and stress inoculation. The key to reducing stress is either to avoid it or learn how to control it.”

To learn more about this and other stress topics, visit The American Institute of Stress’s website. You may also subscribe to the free, quarterly e-magazine Contentment, and have it delivered to your inbox. Contentment magazine is full of practical articles and tools to help readers find contentment in their lives by learning simple science-based stress management techniques.

For your convenience, GPN has included a direct link to the January issue of Contentment magazine. This issue is of particular interest as it focuses on the topic of workplace stress.

Kellie Marksberry is executive director of the Fort Worth, Texas-based American Institute of Stress.