"It's not stress that kills us, it's our reaction to it."

                  - Hans Selye, The Father of Stress Research

What is stress?

Stress is a physical, mental, or emotional stimulus that causes physiological or psychological tension, discomfort, or pain, disrupting the state of balance in our mind-body systems.


When we experience stress too often or too intensely without enough time to recover, it negatively impacts our health and limits our ability to perform at our best. Stress is a natural part of life, but understanding how it affects us and learning how to manage it effectively helps us significantly improve our overall well-being and performance.


The costs of unmanged stress

  • 75% - 90% of illness and disease is stress-related - American Institute of Stress
  • 50% of workers reported feeling stressed at their jobs - 2022 Gallup Survey
  • More than three-quarters of adults report daily symptoms of stress, including headache, fatigue, or sleeping problems - American Psychological Association
  • The cost of work-related stress to US employers due to absenteeism, turnover, diminished productivity, increased medical costs, and increased legal costs is estimated at $300 billion - The American Institute of Stress
  • 61% of Americans report the workplace is a significant source of stress - American Psychological Association
  • Healthcare costs are nearly 50% greater for workers who report high levels of stress - National Institute for Occupational Saftey and Health

Common symptoms of excessive stress

  • Frequent fatigue
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Muscle tension, aches, and pains
  • Changes in appetite
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Frequent illnesses
  • Digestive problems
  • Anxiety
  • Excessive worrying
  • Irritability and mood swings
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Forgetfulness
  • Feeling overwhelmed or helpless
  • Feeling easily frustrated
  • Social withdrawal
  • Procrastination
  • Neglecting responsibilities
  • Increased alcohol or tobacco use
  • Pessimism
  • Racing thoughts
  • Difficulty relaxing

Stress and leadership

Stress is a common experience for everyone, but those in leadership roles often experience more stress due to the added responsibilities of leadership. Additionally, while the stress we experience primarily affects us individually, it can also affect others we interact with.


Since leaders significantly impact their teams, it is important to recognize their role in influencing their team’s stress levels. The words, tone, emotions, and actions of a leader significantly impact the physical and emotional wellness and job performance of their team.

Stress management is a critical leadership skill in the modern work environment. Leaders need the ability to manage their stress levels to enhance their well-being and performance and ensure they do not unconsciously contribute to elevated stress levels among their employees. Leaders owe it to themselves, and their team, to keep their stress under control. Unstress My Life coaching and training programs offer leaders at every level the opportunity to develop valuable stress management skills.