The 8 effects of stress at work

Work stress is one of the most prevalent mental health problems of our time. it is considered that approximately 45% of workers in Spain currently suffer from it.

even though stress can be a positive biological phenomenon in a wide variety of situations by putting us on alert and helping us to avoid dangers and successfully overcome crisis situations, it can also become a real health problem both physically and psychologically if it overwhelms us and we don’t know how to handle it

Therefore, when we talk about stress, we are not referring to the specific stress that millions of workers experience on a daily basis, but to a state of intense and sustained stress that can endanger the physical or emotional balance of the person, in addition to adopting counter-productive behaviors both for oneself and for the organization.

To know in depth this very common phenomenon and with the aim of creating a guide to identify whether or not we suffer from this problem, below we will review the main effects of stress at work.

The most common effects of work stress

These are the usual consequences of work stress on the mental health and behavior of workers.

1. Decline in productivity

One of the main effects of job stress on the worker is reduced productivity, something that puts both the achievement of company goals and the retention of one’s own job at risk by the employee.

This decline in productivity is almost always gradual and all the more pronounced the higher the employee’s stress level, which occurs gradually but steadily over time.

2. A greater propensity to undergo other psychological alterations

As with any type of stress, the psychological effects are those that the person experiences first and since we are not all the same, these can be varied and experienced differently depending on the characteristics of each one.

Some of the main psychological alterations that people suffering from work stress can experience are cases of phobias, depression, development of addictive behaviors, OCD or eating disorders.

3. Physical symptoms

As with psychological changes, there are many physical or biological symptoms that people suffering from work stress can develop over time and these depend on the individual’s constitution as well as their psychological characteristics.

The main physical symptoms caused by stress at work are sleep disturbances and insomnia, rapid heart rate, breathing problems, headachesincreased blood pressure, muscle aches and fatigue.

4. Lack of organization

As we mentioned, when a person experiences stress at work, they can harbor both physical and psychological symptoms that significantly affect their work performance as well as their abilities and skills of all kinds.

This often prevents the person from being able to organize themselves properly. Sometimes due to an excess of work, and the impossibility of putting into practice an effective working method. And others, an inability to distinguish between the most important tasks and those which are less important.

It can happen to even the most diligent and orderly workers that a case of severe stress in their workplace blocks them and prevents them from practicing all those work performance skills that they could previously perform without any problem.

5. Work absenteeism

Absenteeism at work is one of the classic effects of cases of intense stress at work and it occurs when the employee is no longer able to go to his place of work due to multiple causes or deficitscomo por ejemplo epidemics of agoraphobia.

This problem supposes a great detriment both for the worker and for the company or organization for which he works, since it compromises the objectives of the company and the schedule to which all members of the organization must adhere in the short or short term. long term.

6. Cognitive alterations

Some workers who exhibit job stress may also experience a series of cognitive impairments that can affect their work abilities and job performance. It is a transient phenomenon that normally does not leave any sequelae, so as soon as the excess stress disappears, these symptoms also disappear.

Some of these alterations can be memory loss, difficulty concentrating or difficulty remembering aspects related to short-term memory or working memory.

7. Relationship difficulties

Relationship difficulties are also common in cases of work stress, as are relationship skills both in the field of work and in the social environment is seriously diminished.

The relationship problems of a person suffering from stress at work can affect the way they relate and communicate with their colleagues and also with their superiors.

8. Burnout Syndrome

The burnout worker syndrome is a psychological alteration that some people develop when a case of professional stress becomes chronic.

It is the highest and most serious stage of this type of stress at work and is characterized by a progressive wearing down of the person both physically and psychologically, up to levels that are problematic or that endanger the integrity of the person at all levels.

The burnout syndrome is ostensibly more serious than stress at work and is manifested in the worker by excessive exhaustion and various psychological alterations that affect the personality and self-esteem of the person who suffers from it.

What to do

These are some general tips to keep in mind for dealing with stress at work:

  • Practice controlled diaphragmatic breathing
  • Practice mindfulness
  • Make sure you have a well-organized workspace
  • Always keep your schedule and agenda up to date
  • Put the shortest and simplest tasks at the start of your working day
  • Take short breaks to rest for at least 10 minutes every 50 minutes.
  • Be assertive and avoid misunderstandings
  • Communicate errors in the workflow that you detect in your team or department
  • If you realize that you cannot do everything, it is recommended to delegate certain tasks to other colleagues or collaborators.
  • Consider other job options that better match your skills
  • Go to psychotherapy

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If you want to start a psychotherapy process, contact us.

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