Work Stress and Mental Health - How Work Stress Affects Mental Health?

Written by: Vasundhara Shukla – M. Phil (Psychology)

Last updated date : March 24, 2023

Having a job have number of benefits for you including financial and health growth. However hard working also has its perks. The topic of work stress and mental health is gaining attention these days as people are starting to recognize their stress triggers and give importance to their mental health. So you may be wondering that how work stress affects mental health. So lets consider the following example.

For instance, you are working 8-12 hours a day. When you come home you feel tired and you are irritated to spend time with your family for no reason. You feel physically and emotionally tired. You may feel that you are under pressure of deadlines or assignments. This is a sign of stress. This stress is being triggered due to spending extra time and energy into your job.

Many employees report feeling stressed at work, which has a negative impact on their performance and health. According to studies, over 40% of workers said their jobs were highly stressful. Further young workers, women, and those who work full time are more at risk of work stress and poor mental health.

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Chapter 1:

What Is Work Stress and Mental Health?

Work stress is triggered when the work demands don’t meet the worker’s skills, resources, or goals. It has adverse physical and mental reactions. Work stress can result in poor mental health. However every profession has their own fair share of challenges and stress levels. There are two types of work stress factors:

Physical work stress factors may include

  • Noisy environment.
  • Poor lighting.
  • Poor work arrangement.
  • Office equipment is not user-friendly, such as uncomfortable chairs etc.

Mental work stress factors may include

  • Long work hours.
  • Poor job control.
  • High demands of the job.
  • Lack of support.
  • Harassments or bullying at work.
  • Lack of independence.
  • Work that is tiring and boring.
  • Job insecurity etc.

In a nutshell, worker’s physical and mental health is affected by work stress.

Signs and Symptoms of

  • Reduced performance at work
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep problems
  • Unexplained body aches
  • Headaches
  • Eating problems
  • Stomach problems
  • Burnout
  • Anxiety
  • Mood issues
  • Anger and irritability
  • Feelings of self doubt
  • Unable to concentrate
  • Trouble in decision making
  • Problem with interpersonal relations
  • Social isolation

Chapter 2:

How to Control Perfectionism at Work

There are two defense mechanisms in the body on which the stress levels depend that is “alarm reaction” and “adaptation”.
Alarm Phase:
Physical arousal is the first response by our body to any kind of threat. It causes increased heart and respiration rate while tension in muscles of the body. It is known as “fight or flight response”. For instance, your boss may be verbally attacking you. Or pressure to meet deadline at work may trigger your fight or flight response.
Adaptation Phase:
When we get used to the situation and think that the situation is no longer harmful to us. For instance, if you move into a home near a train track. In the beginning you are scared hearing trains racing by but your reaction will weaken with time.

If these defense mechanisms do not work properly you may be at risk of getting stress or face difficulty in changing from one situation to another. For instance, you join a new position at work, during the first week you get to know around the place and see how people work. With the passage of time you will get used to to the assigned tasks and deadlines. But if you get worried every time you are submitting an assignment and have difficulty to meet the deadline while feel anxiety. Then you are facing stress. However feeling stressed for long time is harmful for body and mind as well.

Work stress has a negative impact on worker’s mental health as it increases their risk of excessive worry, burnout, depression, and drug abuse problems. Stressed workers are more at risk to involve in risky behaviors such as smoking, alcohol and drug usage, and bad eating patterns. These risky behaviors are used as copings methods to release work stress.

It’s critical for companies to identify work stress as a major health and safety concern.

Chapter 3:

What Are Benefits of Preventing Work Stress?

Work stress is a prominent issue in today’s life as it affects mental health of workers. So why is it important to resolve the problem of work stress. Work stress not only affects the workers, but it also has a negative effect on the functioning of the company. It affects worker’s performance at work, increases absence and staff turnover rate, workers may take more leaves for medical visits, and raises medical costs for companies, all of which have adverse affects. Here are some of the benefits that you can gain by preventing stress at work.
  • Improved physical and mental health.
  • Less time spend on health recovery
  • More time spend productively
  • Less absents and staff turnover rate
  • Positive impact on worker health and community wellbeing.

Chapter 4:

Self Help Tips

Following are some of the self help tips by which you can reduce work stress and improve your mental health.
  • Talk to your boss or human resources manager about your problems that are bothering you at work.
  • Consider making the adjustments you will need to reduce your work stress. For instance, use a comfortable office chair. Or don’t attend any office calls on weekend.
  • Make sure you look after yourself. Eat healthy and exercise daily.
  • Make a list of your tasks. Schedule your most challenging tasks at times when you are most alert, such as first thing in the morning.
  • Meditate daily for at least 10 minutes to release your daily work stress.
  • Don’t take your frustrations out on your dear ones. Rather than, inform them about your work issues and ask for their help and advice.
  • If work stress persists throughout your efforts, then you may need to find a new job or explore a different career path.
  • Consult a career counsellor or psychologist for help.

Chapter 5:

Call to Action

You can read further “Job Stress: Coping with Work Related¬†Stress” for more information regarding who to deal with stress, if you are going through work stress. Moreover you can start a course today for “Perfectionism” or “DBT for Anger” to manage your problems related to work stress.

"Structured and engaging course" Joan

69 sections

6-Weeks Self-Paced

  • Educational Content
  • Quizzes
  • Self-reflection material
  • Suggestions & feedback
  • Worksheet, tips & tools to use

$9.00 $12.00

25% discount