Carrying the Burden of Stress

Jul 7, 2014, 11:36 AM, Posted by Jeff Meade

Forum at Harvard School of Public Health: The Health Burden of Stress, and What We Can Do About It. Presented in collaboration with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and NPR. (July 9, 2014)

Nearly half of us suffer through one major stressful event every year, and the weight of that stress can be heavy indeed. Take, for example, trouble at work, problems in a personal relationship, or the death of someone close to you.

At the top of the list: health issues—either yours, or those of a loved one. In fact, a health concern is the leading cause of stress for 43 percent of us. And all of that emotional turmoil can have a ripple effect, extending out into the realm of our overall well-being.

An NPR/Robert Wood Johnson Foundation/Harvard School of Public Health poll analyzes the role of stress in our daily lives, its impact on our health, and how we deal with it. In connection with the poll, we convened a webcast with experts to talk about stress and health and good ways to manage stress in different settings.

Moderated by Joe Neel, Deputy Senior Supervising Editor of NPR, the event featured:

  • Kristin Schubert, director, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
  • Robert Blendon, professor of health policy and political analysis, Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard Kennedy School
  • Joshua Riff, medical director and director of health and well-being, Target Corporation
  • Gregory Fricchione, director of the Division of Psychiatry and Medicine and the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital

As Schubert noted, if we are going to build a Culture of Health in America, "it is critical that we begin to recognize the role that stress plays in our own lives as well as those around us, because we know that too much stress can really impact a person's ability to make healthy choices for themselves and their families."

We think this conversation is a good start. We’ve also put together a list of resources to help you deal with the issues that cause stress in your life. We hope you find them helpful.

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