The Fatal Effects of Excess Work Stress and How to Manage It

Posted April 24, 2021 by in Career

Do you feel stressed at work? If so, you are certainly not alone—nearly 83 percent of Americans suffer from work stress.

Not only can stress affect you mentally, but it can also harm you physically as well. Keep reading to learn more about the consequences of stress and what you can do to manage your stress levels at work:

Stressed woman working on laptop.

The Effects of Stress

Not all stress is bad. Some responses to stress can actually help you deal with a situation. Some stressors are also positive and can motivate you to be successful at work or reach your goal.

However, chronic stress is severe and can cause affect your body’s other systems. For example, when you are stressed for long periods of time, your body’s immune system does not function normally, and your excretory, digestive, and reproductive systems do not function as they should.

Health Implications

Because your body responds to stress in different ways, symptoms can vary between individuals. Common health issues for excess stress include:

  • Sleeping difficulty
  • Headaches
  • Chest pain
  • High blood pressure
  • Digestive issues
  • Anger and irritability
  • High risk of viral infections
  • Change in sex drive
  • Lack of motivation
  • Change in appetite

If you don’t treat these symptoms, it can lead to severe chronic conditions like anxiety, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, asthma, and depression.

Talk to your doctor about ways to manage these symptoms, and when it comes to medication, choose the right one to manage conditions like high blood pressure.

Dealing With Work Stress

Most of us can all benefit by learning ways to manage our anxiety and fear on the job. There are ways to control your job stress and avoid burnout.

Learn Problem-Solving

A good way to deal with stress is to learn how to take steps and learn how to approach the challenge or roadblock—also known as problem-solving. These steps involve determining the problem, coming up with potential solutions, finding the best solution, creating an action plan, and then testing the solution.

Develop Relaxation Strategies

When you relax, you count the physiological effects of your stress response. You can help relax your muscles to relieve the tension that comes with anxiety. 

When you feel stress building up, close your eyes. Then tense and relax all your major muscle groups starting with your legs and moving upward. Hold the tension for 10 seconds, and then release for 20.

Think “relax” when you release the tension. You can also develop other relaxation strategies such as breathing or meditating for a few minutes.

Mindfulness

Mindfulness helps you be in the moment and approach with acceptance, openness, and curiosity. Stress causes you to spend time debating the past, worrying about the future, and criticizing yourself. You can train your brain to abandon these harmful habits.

Try cultivating mindfulness with mindful exercises, guided mediation, or taking mindfulness classes. These practices are great ways to reduce anxiety and depression.

Redirect Negative Thoughts

If you have chronic stress, you tend to interpret everything with a negative eye. You may jump to negative conclusions when there is little or no evidence to do so. You may also start doubting your ability.

To redirect these thoughts, don’t think of them as facts but as hypotheses. Consider all the possibilities (positive included). This can help you reduce negative emotions.

Woman with long curly hair smiling and looking at laptop while working on a kitchen table.

Avoid Stress and Burnout

Don’t let work stress get the best of you and your health. Use these methods to cope and find things that work for you. If you are really stressed, try to step away from the situation.

Keep checking out our site for more advice to reduce stress and live a healthy lifestyle.