Work Related Stress: Signs, Symptoms and Tips to Reduce Work Stress

work related stress Work related stress is a major cause of stress. Work stress can impact your health and well-being. Here the signs and symptoms of job stress are discussed and we give you tips to reduce workplace stress.

Do you work with rude, obnoxious, loud or lazy co-workers? Are your workloads excessive or do you feel that you have little control over how you work or your own job security?

These are some of the common causes of work related stress – and this stress could be affecting your productivity and health.

According to the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, the health care expenditures of workers who report high levels of stress are 50 percent higher.

This makes reducing job stress important for you and your workplace. Here I provide a number of symptoms of work stress and strategies that you can put into place to reduce stress.

Common causes of work related stress

There are a number of main causes of work stress.

Some of the causes of work stress include:

Warning Signs of Work Related Stress

Work overload

Job insecurity

Difficulties dealing with co-workers


Long hours

Environmental stress - e.g noise and heat

Changing work structures

Difficulties dealing with clients

Role ambiguity

Poor management practices

Inadequate resources

A lack of control over how the work is done

Work related stress and health: Warning signs and symptoms of job stress

Does a day at work leave you feeling frazzled and worn out? Do you find yourself becoming increasingly frustrated and irritable at work?

Work stress can cause a number of psychological and physical symptoms of stress. Some of these symptoms may include headaches, change in eating patterns, feelings of frustration or anger, a loss of energy and general tiredness.

Prolonged stress at work can cause a number of other symptoms of stress.

Chronic work stress can aggravate and worsen a number of other ill health problems. For example, heart disease patients compared to a healthy control group could be differentiated by occupational stress (Russek & Russek, 1976).

Work stress can also influence a number of other health-related issues such as depression and anxiety, ulcers, and digestion problems and many more.

How to reduce work related stress

Typically there are two ways to manage work stress. The first involves what sort of stress management strategies that YOU can put in place.

The second are the stress reducing interventions that the ORGANIZATION can put into place.

Individual ways to manage stress

While you can't really change the habits of others, you can change how you react and respond to stress at work.

We can all reach our limits and can lash out at a colleague….but this can really sour your relations at work and exacerbate a tense situation.

In this provocative situation, whether it is an obnoxious coworker or abrupt manager, there is usually something that is pushing your buttons.

Recognize what is pushing your buttons. It may be a pushy client or an abrupt boss, or perhaps you are tired of the mixed signals from above about how you should do your work.

stress diary

Whatever is causing your work stress it is important to gather information on what exactly is pushing your buttons and how you react.

Knowing your hot buttons and your stress signature can help you put in place a strategy to manage this stress.

Downloading and filling out a stress diary can be helpful here.

Know what you are thinking. Underlying these stressful work situations can be a set of beliefs or thoughts that influence your feelings and behavior.

stress diary

Some of these may include the belief that I must be perfect, or black and white thinking, or the expectation that your colleagues are similar to you. These cognitive distortions can increase your stress.

Identifying the thoughts and beliefs underlying the situation causing you stress, can be a good step to understanding what exactly is pressing your buttons.

I talk more about these cognitive distortions in positive thinking for stress relief.

Relaxation strategies. Relaxation techniques will increase your overall frustration tolerance levels.

One of the symptoms of unrelenting work stress is tiredness and exhaustion – which can lead to job burnout. Relaxation can help you to rest and recuperate – regenerating your batteries and developing your overall stress resilience.

Time management. If you have a to-do list as long as your arm and you are pressured by a lack of time then time management at work can relieve stress. Time management is about planning yourself in relation to time, and involves prioritizing your to-do list – so you are not swamped by the tyranny of the urgent.

Sometimes these stress management techniques may not get to the root cause of what is causing you stress. This is because they focus on the worker rather than the organization.

Organizational strategies to reduce stress

Personal stress management training to reduce work stress can only go so far - that's because personal-based stress interventions focus primarily on the individual without taking into account the organization aspects that cause job stress.

One way that an organization can get to the root cause of work stress is to improve general work conditions and identify sources of work stress.

A stress management consultant can conduct a stress audit to identify the sources of work stress.

By identifying various sources of work stress - for example excessive workload, role ambiguity and conflicting expectations - the organization can modfiy work conditions that eliminate or reduce the root causes of job stress.

Since a stress audit may involve changes in management structure and production schedules, they may meet some resistance...BUT the long-term benefits are a healthier more productive workforce that take less sick days and increase the bottom line.

Since the organizational approach to stress management will not eliminate stress for all workers, often a good way to proceed is to use both an individual intervention for work stress and organizational intervention for stress at work.

Related Articles on Job Stress

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Stress can Lead to Job Burnout

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Signs and Symptoms of Stress at Work

More stress management articles

How does Stress Affect Health: Stress and Health

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