August 12, 2019 | Abby Caviness
While we all know stress can have a negative effect on your health, it is important to know where your stress could be coming from. According to the American Psychological Association, 60 percent of adults attribute their work as a significant source of stress.1 So, what aspect of work causes the most stress, and how can workplace stress be prevented to avoid the consequences? Lucky for you, USHEALTH Group® is here to help.*
Stress can be brought on by a variety of factors. However, according to Forbes, the primary source of workplace stress is one’s boss.2 In fact, 80 percent of respondents in a survey conducted by the Korn Ferry Institute reported leadership changes of people directly above them can affect stress levels.3 Additionally, if a person does not feel their boss values their viewpoints, treats them truthfully, or includes them in decision-making processes, they can feel increased levels of stress.4
Two additional sources of stress include coworker relations and workload. While disgruntled or passive-aggressive coworkers exist in every work environment, the way someone reacts to these individuals can cause stress.4 Therefore, individuals who have difficulty managing their emotional responses and lack problem-solving skills to deal with difficult coworkers.
An individual’s workload can also affect stress in the workplace, though not in the way you may immediately think. According to the same study, 79 percent of respondents said lacking work is more stressful than having too much work. Additionally, 74 percent said they would rather work more and recieve more money rather than work less and receive less.3
Nevertheless, these are just a few ways work can increase an individual’s stress levels. In reality, there are countless other ways unique to each person’s situation that can add to this stress. However, it is the individual’s responsibility to dig to the root of the issue and work out their own difficulties. In fact, the first step of improving an individual’s situation is recognizing stress and how it is affecting their health.
Symptoms and Effects
Some individuals may view work stress as normal, as long as they love what they do. However, according to Business Insider, it is possible to love work and still feel pressure and stress from it. In fact, this stress can be very detrimental to your health if not managed properly. So, knowing the signs and symptoms is important for living a healthy life in the workplace.
Some less-serious symptoms include:5
- Insomnia and nightmares
- Having to keep a bottle of antacids at your desk
- Frequent headaches
- Grinding your teeth
- Angry outbursts
- Panic attacks
- “Sunday Night Blues”
More serious effects of workplace stress include:6
- Muscular tension
- Heart palpitations
- Dermatological disorders
- Increased risk of coronary heart disease
Though some of these symptoms may seem small, they can affect your quality of life in the present and have long-lasting effects, which may disrupt your future. However, recognizing the signs is just half of the equation So, how can workplace stress be treated?
Thankfully, because workplace is so prevalent, several self-help methods have been discovered to help solve the issue. For example, these methods include:6
- Thinking about changes you can make in the workplace to reduce your stress levels
- Talking about your concerns with your employer or human resources manager
- Making sure you are well organized
- Taking care of other aspects of your health with a healthy diet and regular exercise
- Trying meditation or yoga to relax and unwind
- Making sure to schedule “me time” every week
- Not taking your stress out on loved ones
- Avoiding drinking and smoking, which cause additional health problems
- Seeking professional counseling
- If problems persist, despite your efforts, considering changing jobs or careers
Of course, you know your body best and what works best for you, so your best solution may not be listed here. As long as you are making efforts to reduce your stress levels, you are bound to discover your perfect remedy, and your joy will be restored!
Benefits of Preventing Workplace Stress
Aside from avoiding the effects of workplace stress, there are additional factors affected by workplace stress, which are worth exploring. For example, workplace stress can accelerate burnout. Burnout is a phenomenon categorized as a “loss of meaning in one’s work.” This is often “coupled with mental, emotional, or physical exhaustion as the result of long-term, unresolved stress.”8
In fact, burnout is a step above workplace stress and is often harder to overcome. This is because it negatively affects every aspect of a person’s life, not just work. This is due to these individuals isolating themselves from others and not taking care of their physical health. As a result, their overall wellbeing declines rapidly. So, properly managing workplace stress will help individuals to avoid this occupational phenomenon.
Additionally, managing workplace stress will help to:7
- Reduce symptoms of poor physical health
- Decrease injury, illness, and unproductivity
- Reduce sick leave usage, absences, and staff turnover
- Increase productivity, job satisfaction, and work engagement
- Reduce costs to the employer
- Improve employee health and community wellbeing
Workplace stress can negatively impact your job experience. Additionally, if not managed properly, it can lead to physical consequences and can cause damage to an individual’s personal relationships. So, it is important to know the signs, symptoms, and how to address these issues to effectively manage stress. This way, the individual’s health will be in check, and everyone will be happier as a result of their effort!
*This material is provided by USHEALTH Group for informational/educational purposes only and should not replace medical/clinical advice or direction from your health care provider.
- American Psychological Association, “Report Highlights, Stress in America: Paying with our health,” APA.org, accessed August 8, 2019, https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/2014/highlights
- Lipman, Victor, “Workplace Trend: Stress Is On The Rise,” Forbes.com, published January 9, 2019, https://www.forbes.com/sites/victorlipman/2019/01/09/workplace-trend-stress-is-on-the-rise/#6000ebb46e1b
- Korn Ferry Institute, “Workplace Stress Continues to Mount,” KornFerry.com, published November 14, 2018, https://www.kornferry.com/institute/workplace-stress-motivation
- Heubeck, Elizabeth, “Workplace Stress and Your Health,” WebMD.com, last modified September 12, 2007, https://www.webmd.com/men/features/work-stress#1
- Smith, Jacquelyn, “8 signs your job is stressing you out, even if it doesn’t feel like it,” BusinessInsider.com, published September 15, 2016, https://www.businessinsider.com/signs-your-work-is-stressing-you-out-even-if-it-doesnt-feel-like-it-2016-9
- Renter, Elizabeth, “How Job Stress Might Be Killing You, and What You Can Do About It,” Health.USNews.com, published June 15, 2015, https://health.usnews.com/health-news/health-wellness/articles/2015/06/15/how-job-stress-might-be-killing-you-and-what-you-can-do-about-it
- Better Health Channel, “Work-related stress,” BetterHealth.vic.gov.au, last modified June 2012, https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/work-related-stress
- Cohut, Maria, “Burnout: Facing the damage of ‘chronic workplace stress,’” MedicalNewsToday.com, published August 2, 2019, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325943.php