Stress is a form of emotional and physical tension that can affect anyone due to any reason. It is your body’s reaction to a challenge or demand. In short bursts, stress could be beneficial in terms of challenging you to work better and increase your productivity, avoiding danger or meeting a deadline. But when it lasts for a long time, stress could turn into depression and it can be very harmful to your health.
There are two types of stress:
* Acute stress
This form of stress lasts for a very small time period and goes away once the trigger is gone. You feel it when you have a fight, have something to be completed, someone staring at you, doing something new or thrilling etc. It helps you be aware of the upcoming dangerous situation and be prepared to face it. Everyone has acute stress at one time or another and there is nothing to worry about it.
When you are going through a long term woeful situation like unfulfilled relationship/marriage, loss in business, health issues, and lack of satisfaction in career, chances are that stress will last for a long time, for weeks or months. Your problems become worse because of chronic stress sometimes you not even realizing it- and adversely affect your ability to think clearly or do what is utmost.
*Stress at work
In today’s hectic, high pace life, people are running to meet deadlines. They are in a constant hurry to finish a project, excel at their work, be on the top among their colleagues or land to their dream job. However, when we plan to achieve something, we meet so many obstacles that hinder our progress and demotivate us. The incessant presence of these unfavorable, demotivating, uncontrollable triggers leads to lack of job satisfaction and chronic stress. The symptoms could not be fathomable and you may not even realize that you have been suffering from extreme stress until it takes a toll on you and you reach a breaking point.
*Factors leading to Work Stress
There are several factors that lead to lack of job satisfaction and extreme stress which can put your mental and physical health on the stake. These are:
- Work overload and deadlines
- Work shift
- Dis-balance between work and life
- Unsatisfactory pay/salary
- Strict rules regarding timings
- The pressure of excelling in everything you do
- Lack of freedom in your work
- Lack of coordination/compatibility with your teammates
- Lack of growth or promotion options at the workplace
- Unfriendly or gender-biased office environment
- Discriminatory and offensive behavior of colleagues/employer
- Conflicting demands and unclear performance expectations
*Effect of Work stress on your body
When you are not happy with your work due to any reason, that’s the first sign of stress. You might not realize it until it reaches a breaking point, the point where you feel irritated, angry, isolated, extremely sad and withdrawn. The symptoms of excessive stress at work include-
- Loss of interest in work you used to love a lot.
- Forgetfulness and difficulty in concentrating
- Stomach problems like diarrhea or constipation
- Feeling anxious, irritable and depressed
- Fatigue, headache and muscle tension
- Trouble in sleeping or sleeping too much
- Social withdrawal at work or other places
- Stiff jaw or neck
- Sexual problems
- Weight loss or gain
*Dealing with Work Stress
You should know that your career is for making your life better, not your life for your career. It is important that you be healthy, happy and satisfied with your life and work. There is no need to suffer and do something that hurts you or affects your emotional or physical health adversely. So, If you find most of the symptoms or causes of stress at work to be true for you, you should do the following things to deal with it:
- Develop a healthy approach to combat your stress. Avoid negative self-talk and perfectionist attitude.
- Track down the stressor by keeping a journal and writing down how you feel and what makes you feel that way.
- Establish boundaries between your work and professional life. Don’t indulge in personal stuff like relationships, sharing your secrets or anything like that at the workplace.
- Discipline yourself and learn to manage your time into doing productive things that will give you a sense of establishment.
- Cut off from work to recharge. Do something fun such as traveling solo, going to a concert or event, spending time with family/friends etc.
- Pursue your hobbies and learn something new like swimming, playing any musical instrument, writing poetries etc.
- Seek support. Talk to your friends/colleagues about the problem you are facing and find out a solution to it.
- Analyze your progress. See if it’s your work or workplace that is hampering your progress and happiness.
- Look for transfer option or any other job.
- If you still see no positive changes consult a psychologist.
*Take Home Message
Throughout the day, we have several thousands of thoughts originating in our mind. Any trigger, internal or external is likely to cause you negativity and stress. The solution is that you should stop for a while and take a deep breath. Avoid being harsh and self-critical. Read motivational books, quotes. Make time for yourself. Avoid the company of people who put you down or are very critical about everything. That’s the simple mantra to cope with work stress.