Stress in the Work Place

unhappy woman at her deskIf you’re stressed by cuts in bonuses, lack of opportunity for career advancement, unrealistic job expectations, long hours and feeling undervalued, you’re not alone.

According to a Summary of the American Psychological Association’s Stress in the Workplace Survey in March, 2011:

“More than one third (36 percent) of workers said they typically feel tense or stressed out during their workday and almost half (49 percent) said low salary is significantly impacting their stress level at work. Twenty percent report that their average daily level of stress from work is an 8, 9, or 10 on a 10-point scale.”

With cuts due to the recession, many employees are experiencing significant stressors at work, such as excessively high workloads, unrealistic expectations, a lack of control over their work day and expectations that they complete work tasks at which they are inexperienced or unqualified.

Job stress can take a physical and emotional toll.  You can lose mental energy,  develop unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as gambling or over eating and develop significant health problems including an increased risk of heart attack.

If you’re one of the many people experiencing stress at work today, it’s important to acknowledge your stress levels and take some action to reduce your stress.  You may not be able to effect change in your work environment, but you can change how you respond to stress.

The American Psychological Association suggests that you:

  • Take advantage of breaks.  Take a few minutes of personal time and refresh your mind and body.  Talk to co-workers, take a walk or spend some quiet time on  your own.
  • Give yourself time to mentally regroup if you become angry.  Count to 10 or walk away for a few minutes before responding when you are angry.
  • Don’t expect yourself to meet unreasonable standards.  Do your best and keep in mind what is reasonable.  Talk to your employer if expectations are not consistent with what is realistically possible.  Whenever possible, set reasonable standards for others, as well.

Photo by Joanna8555, available under a Creative Commons attribution license.

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