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Health Effects of Stress at Work

Updated: Apr 26


young man seated in front of a computer covering his face

Work-related stress is a very common topic among coworkers. It is normal to feel stressed from time to time. However, you might be facing a situation where the stress is affecting you daily. That is when your health and personal life are at risk. Therefore, it is important to know how your health is affected to take the appropriate steps to handle it.


What is work-related stress?


Work-related stress is the physical and/or mental inability to handle work demands. These demands could have external or internal roots. Work-related stress could be short-term or long-term.


What can cause work-related stress?

  • Increased job demands

  • Poor communication

  • Lack of work-related resources

  • Conflict between coworkers

  • Poorly define job duties

  • Job insecurity

  • Safety concerns

  • Lack of recognition

  • Work schedules

  • Low salaries

  • Poor work organization

  • Lack of skills

How does it manifest in your body?


Our body responds in a “fight or flight” way each time we are exposed to stress. That is a natural response. And when that happens, the blood pressure goes up, heart rate and breathing increase, and muscle tenses. When the state of stress continues and becomes chronic, health problems start to appear.


Some examples of effects on the body are:

Infographis showing the different areas of the body affected by stress
  • Increase blood pressure

  • Increase risk of heart attack

  • Panic attacks

  • Depression

  • Anxiety

  • Migraines

  • Trouble sleeping

  • Concentration problems

  • Stomach issues

  • Back and upper extremities musculoskeletal problems

  • Weakened immune system

  • Obesity

What can be done?


There are things that you cannot control about your work. You have to deal with what is controllable under your circumstances. To do that you need to identify what triggers your stress. Once you do that, pay attention to the way you respond when exposed to that trigger. Start trying to turn your response into a positive attitude, which at the same time will help you to relax.


Some things that you can try while at work are:

  • Learn when to say no

  • Delegate work

  • Get organized

  • Take deep breaths

  • Bring positive thoughts

  • Talk to someone

  • Take time off

  • Avoid the triggers

Once you are at home, you can try these:

  • Meditate

  • Get a massage

  • Take a warm bath

  • Use aromatic candles

  • Surround yourself with optimistic people

  • Exercise

  • Eat a healthy snack

Some companies offer the opportunity to their employees to go to professional therapy sessions or groups, take advantage of that option. Or, you can look for the healthcare professional of your preference to attend to your needs. And a very important point is to accept that, sometimes, the best solution is to quit and look for another place to work.


Now you have an idea of what can be causing your stress at work and how to handle it. Don’t let the stress at work consume your life and your relationships. Take advantage of the tools that you have available and learn how to put yourself in control of your situation. Please be healthy and stay tuned for the next topic.



 

References:

1. Workplace Stress. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://blogs.cdc.gov/niosh-science-blog/2007/12/03/stress/ Accessed January 28, 2022.

2. Stress…At Work. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/99-101/default.html/ Accessed on January 28, 2022.

3. Coping with stress at work. American Psychological Association. https://www.apa.org/topics/healthy-workplaces/work-stress/ Accessed on January 28, 2022.

4. How to handle stress at work. Harvard Health Publishing. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/how-to-handle-stress-at-work-2019041716436/ Accessed on January 28, 2022.

5. Managing Job Stress. The University of Michigan Health. https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/ta5662spec/ Accessed on January 28, 2022.

6. Stress Management. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/coping-with-stress/art-20048369/ Accessed on January 28, 2022.

7. Michie S. CAUSES AND MANAGEMENT OF STRESS AT WORK. Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2002;59:67-72.


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This Site cannot and does not contain physician advice. The physician information is provided for general and educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice. Accordingly, before taking any actions based upon such information, we encourage you to consult with the appropriate professionals. We do not provide any kind of physician advice. THE USE OR RELIANCE OF ANY INFORMATION CONTAINED ON THIS SITE OR THE MOBILE APPLICATION IS SOLELY AT YOUR OWN RISK.


Credits:

Gdudycha, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons



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