Job stress: how bad it is and how to deal with it

job stress

Job stress is something everyone working is experiencing to a certain degree every day – from low level of stress to moderate, or being a constant high, it affects us one way or another. A certain level of job stress or occasional one is actually healthy, as it keeps our adrenaline in check and our body is more alert to finding solutions fast. In this case only, job stress is helpful to our overall productivity. But anything except that, and especially when a high level of stress is a constant within our work space, the repercussions on our health are not desirable.

Job stress consequences

In a study about job stress influencing our anxiety levels that I found very interesting, some of the findings are really worth thinking about, such as:

  • The fact that 72% of people who have daily stress and anxiety say it interferes with their lives at least moderately
  • While 30% of people with daily stress have taken prescription medication to manage stress, nervousness, emotional problems or lack of sleep
  • 28% have had an anxiety or panic attack
  • Only 9% have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder

Job stress affects your personal life and most of the times you don’t even realize it is happening – as few of us actually take the time to think about this or go to a medical check. At least not until everything gets really serious and we can’t ignore the issue anymore.

Besides affecting your personal life, job stress influences your workplace performance, the relationship with your colleagues, the quality of your work and the relationship with superiors. If your job stress level is high, you most probably take it home as well and this can affect your personal relationships and lifestyle quite a lot.

Job stress causes

Looking at the results from the previous mentioned study, the most frequent causes generating a high level of job stress are:

  • Facing tight and frequent deadlines
  • Having to manage or deal with interpersonal relationships
  • Staff management
  • Dealing with issues/problems that arise
  • Receiving criticism and feedback
  • Changes in the workspace

Coping with job stress

There are different ways people cope with job stress – some of them are healthy some not so much. From the same study mentioned above, the main ways people cope with job stress are:

  • Consuming more caffeine
  • Smoking
  • Exercising more frequently (the only healthy one)
  • Taking over-the-counter or prescription medication
  • Consuming more alcoholic beverages

How to deal with job stress

If changing the job into a less stressful one is not an option (or till you find that other job you can switch to), I recommend following some of the methods below in order to keep sane in a highly stressful work environment.

  1. Stay busy after work: the worst thing you can do is to go home and ruminate about what happened at work. Basically, you’ll go again through the same experiences, not reliving at all the stress you felt during working hours and not relaxing at all. Instead, go out with a friend or engage in one of your passions – anything that will replace the stressful thoughts with nicer, newer ones, which will give you a state of relaxation and peace of mind.
  2. Exercise before or after job hours: exercising helps reducing the stress levels, helping your body deal with job stress better. During exercise, your body produces endorphin, a hormone that acts like a pain killer and helps dealing with stress and anxiety. 30 minutes of exercising a day will help your body face job stress much better.
  3. Make your work tasks a game: engage in a competition with yourself – how many tasks can you get done today? How many ideas can you produce? How fast can you solve something so that you can get that reward you are really excited about and so on? Make job stress less serious and more of a game with yourself to ease the burden you feel. It’s a good strategy to also motivate yourself to perform better in high job stress levels, and joke more about all this.
  4. Fake it: you’ll probably laugh at this one, but one way we can actually influence our mind is to start acting like it’s all good. If we fake we’re not anxious or stressed, and that all is well, that you’re confident and happy, our mind can actually pick up on this and behave like this – in phycology, this is called cognitive dissonance. And you can use it in all your life domains, not just at work. Fake it till you make it, as they say.

Job stress and anxiety related to your workplace can affect your sanity and personal life easily if left unchecked. That’s why being aware of this and taking action in case you are facing stress at your job in order to prevent anxiety is vital to your overall well-being.


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