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Previous generations considered the workplace as a means to an end, but in today’s society, the workplace is seen as an extension of who you are. By having a purpose in life, satisfying your ambitions, and allowing you to be creative, the workplace can define you in many ways.
But the workplace has become an increasingly stressful place for many people, and it’s no wonder that it can lead to poor health. Studies have found that 26% to 40% of Americans report their jobs are extremely stressful while the UK reports that about 74% of adults felt very stressed within the past two years.
Stress is a natural occurrence in your everyday life, and in small doses, it can be a positive, motivating force. When stress builds up, your mental and physical health becomes more affected. Finding a low-stress job might prove to be difficult because stress is a common condition in any workplace. Instead, focusing on effective strategies in reducing your stress at work would be a more practical choice.
Most of us spend over 40 hours a week at work, so there is bound to be different stressors that could affect work performance. With different personalities, communication styles, and world views, these differences can sometimes lead to stress and tension among colleagues, thereby decreasing work performance and productivity or mental health issues. Some common work-related stressors include:
Other workplace challenges also include communication problems, discrimination, gossip, poor job fit, low motivation/job satisfaction, and performance issues. Bullying at work has received significant attention in recent years and can come in the form of sexual harassment, bribery, or gossip. Discrimination comes from prejudicial beliefs and becomes a workplace challenge when workers are mistreated and leads to tension and discomfort within the workplace.
According to The American Institute of Stress, 34% of people reported difficulty sleeping, 44% reported strained eyes, 12% complained of hurting hands, and 12% called in sick due to job stress.
Work-related stress is a significant problem with long-term effects on your physical and mental health. Physical health problems, such as heart attacks, hypertension, pain, and insomnia, can be lifelong conditions. You may contribute to these problems in unhealthy ways by overeating, inactivity, smoking cigarettes, or abusing drugs. Your mental health is also at stake. Stress causes a physiological reaction that makes us go into ‘fight or flight’ mode, which causes us to lose the ability to reason. When you are exposed to constant stress, it can lead to a psychological syndrome called burnout. Burnout occurs from the exhaustion of the job and can also lead to mental health issues.
Workplace challenges are associated with a higher prevalence of mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression. Keep in mind that if left untreated, stress can take its toll on your professional and personal life and can negatively affect your overall health.
Everyone encounters stress on some level, but it becomes a problem when it starts to affect you physically and mentally. Your body may initially tell you something is wrong by getting a mild cold or feeling some fatigue. Some signs of work-related stress include:
It is essential to take care of yourself, especially when you’re under stress and unhappy at work. The American Psychological Association has found that Americans cited work as being a significant source of stress. Recognizing your stressors and dealing with it is not easy, so here are a few ways to get you started in caring for yourself.
Getting to the root of your work-related stress issues with the help of a professional can help you to take steps towards overcoming work challenges you are facing.
Therapy can treat mental health symptoms, such as depression and anxiety, due to work-related stress. Improving your communication skills and conflict resolution skills are also useful techniques that are taught so you can apply them in the workplace. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) may also be utilized. This type of treatment helps you identify and change unhealthy thoughts, which leads to an improved mood and general well-being.
Other treatment can be stress management techniques, such as meditation and mindfulness. Mindfulness is a type of meditation that is focused on the present moment with curiosity and openness by training your brain to relax. This can be done through guided meditation and informal exercises. Mindfulness apps and classes are also available to help you.
Vocational counseling might also be useful when considering job fit, performance, and satisfaction. This will provide you the opportunity to also discuss your career plans presently and for the future.
Behavioral Health Associates of Broward will guide you through a stress-free journey to give you the tools you need for your work-related stress. We understand the challenges you are facing and want to help.
Your well-being matters to us. Give us a call or fill out our contact form for more information about how our caring, experienced counseling professionals can guide you through the work stress management process. We’re ready to help.