|Stress and the Unintended Consequences of Our Job|
|By Bryan Avila, TDCJ Correctional Training Instructor - Sergeant of Correctional Officers|
We put on our uniforms every day and go to work. The things that we deal with on a daily basis will make the normal person cringe. We raised our hand and volunteered to do this job. We volunteered to deal with the brutality that society has to offer every day. We volunteered….Our families did not.
Stress is an ever present factor in our daily lives. It is an evil that we try to learn how to deal with. I say try because we rarely succeed at it. We have gotten better at it over the years, but it is still a constant struggle for us.
It came as a shock to me, but as I was researching the divorce rates for Law Enforcement and Corrections, I found that the divorce rate for LEO’s was lower than the national average at 14.7% and for corrections is was higher than the national average at 21.3%. The national average is 16.35%. I honestly believed for the longest time that we were at the top of the list (Dancers and choreographers are at the top with 43.05%).
Even though it is great news that we are not at the top of the list, when it comes down to stress, there is no doubt that we have one of the most stressful jobs out there. How we deal with it, and more importantly how our families are affected by it, is what makes all the difference.
How do we normally deal with stress? Since we are supposedly built to show no emotion in the face of adversity, we bottle things up and refuse to talk about our feelings. We don’t need to talk about them, right? Isn’t talking for sissies? We just need to deal with whatever it is and move one. How wrong can we possibly be about this train of thought?
We must learn how to control, and deal, with the stress before it controls us and we loose all control of our lives. When we allow stress to control us, we face the following just to name a few:
Now there are a few things that we can do in order to deal with the stress and reduce the negative effects of stress:
Editor's note: Corrections.com author Bryan Avila started working as a Police Officer in 1994 while attending Norwich University in Northfield, VT. In 1999 he began working for the Vermont Dept of Corrections while still working as a Part-Time Police Officer. In 2007 he left public service until 2009 when he began working for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. He is currently a Correctional Training Instructor- Sergeant of Correctional Officers, at the TDCJ Region I Training Academy located in Huntsville, TX.
Other articles by Avila:
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