Work Stress: Causes, Signs and Solutions

work stress Work stress is a major cause of stress for many people. The causes of stress at work, the signs and symptoms of workplace stress and what you can do about job stress are examined.

You've got an irate boss hounding for yesterday's report. You're working long hours and taking work home - under pressure with tomorrow's deadline.

No wonder job stress is one the fastest growing causes of stress.

Approximately 25% of employees found that workplace stress was the number one cause of stress in their lives.1

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Workplace stress can have a serious impact on your health and wellbeing and is major contributor to absenteeism and occupational injury.

BUT...you don't have to be passive to the effects of workplace stress.

There are many things that you can do to reduce stress at work.

Here we provide some of the common signs and symptoms of job stress, the causes of stress and what you can do to reduce stress in the workplace.


Signs and symptoms of work stress

Some jobs are inherently more stressful than others - high stress jobs like emergency medical doctors or air traffic controllers are some examples.

BUT all jobs entail some workplace stress!

Stress in the workplace can be defined as when the perceived demands of the job outstrip your coping abilities.

There are a number of symptoms that can occur at the emotional, physiological and behavioral levels.

For example at the emotional level you may experience increased frustration and irritability at work, or a sense of helplessness and lack of morale.

If you have ever noticed stiffness in your shoulders or an overall increase in muscle tension then you are experiencing one of the physiological symptoms of stress. Others include tension headaches, more rapid breathing or an increased chance of digestive problems.

At the behavioral level stress can result in increased consumption of alcohol or smoking as the stressed worker attempts to cope with workplace stress.

I talk more about the signs and symptoms of work related stress and what you can do to reduce workplace stress.

Causes of work stress

Perhaps you coworker really knows how to press your buttons!

Whether it is the irate boss yelling for yesterday’s report, unsupportive co-workers and supervisors, or the worry of being laid off – there are many causes of workplace stress.

BUT...workplace stress is not just about stress at work.

We don’t live in a vacuum – we can be affected by other things at home or outside the office.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) model of job stress shows that job stress is a combination of stressful job conditions, your personality and other outside factors - such as stress at home and support networks.

job stress

The NIOSH break stressful work conditions into several categories.

I talk more about these several categories and what you can do at beat job stress.

Reduce Job Stress

Excess stress in the workplace can put you at risk of job burnout – in which your physical and mental resources are depleted and you become physically, emotionally and mentally exhausted.

Stress can impact health and reduce your overall productivity. This makes dealing with work stress important for you!

Reduce job stress by planning and prioritizing

Once of the causes of stress that I see a lot of is overwork.

With increasing globalization and job insecurity – it can sometimes feel that you HAVE to do the work to keep your job.

Do you regularly pull long hours and take work home? Do you have a to-do list as long as your arm and feel pressured by a lack of time?

These are some common causes of work stress and time management at work may be beneficial for you. By planning you work and then working your plan you can increase your effectiveness and overall work impact.

Other ways to reduce workplace stress

Work stress is an increasing problem and there are a number of ways that you can be proactive in the face of stress.

I talk more about the many approaches to dealing with stress through nutrition, regular relaxation, the importance of breaks and what the organization can do to reduce stress at work.

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1 Survey conducted by Northwestern National Life


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