Often the events that initiate a stress process are changes, even positive changes, since they require an extra effort from the individual and personal well-being is perceived to be threatened.
It is very important to keep in mind that stress does not always have negative consequences. Its appearance sometimes represents an opportunity to test personal resources and strengthen self-esteem.
Feeling unwell due to stress
What does it depend on then that the stress I suffer causes me discomfort? The answer is not in the threatening facts that activate us. The same situation is interpreted in different ways by each person who experiences it.
The important thing is not what happens but the interpretation we make of what happens to us.
Feeling this discomfort will then depend on the abilities we have to deal with the event, the way we evaluate it, the social support we perceive, the coping tendency we have (denying problems, running away from them, postponing them...), etc. In summary, of personal characteristics (stable or circumstantial).
What is work stress?
Stress at work has to do with industrialized societies where the increasing or sustained pressure in the work environment can cause mental and/or physical saturation in the worker.
Most people have experienced this type of stress at some point in their lives. Having to carry out a task in a very short period of time, presenting a large-scale project or opting for a promotion are punctual stressors that subside without much importance.
However, when problems persist, stress can become chronic, seriously compromising the emotional and physical well-being of the person.
Some of the factors that usually occur at work and that can trigger work stress are:
- Support excessive workloads
- Get a low salary
- Having an unstimulating job
- Few opportunities for professional growth
- hostile work environment
- Inability to separate work and personal life
- Rotating shifts
- Consequences of work stress
In the short term, the experiences of this type of circumstance can cause both physical and mental discomfort in the worker. Headaches, stomach aches, sleep disorders, concentration problems and irritability are common.
But when situations are prolonged over time, they can have more serious consequences for health, such as: anxiety disorders, the appearance of cardiovascular diseases, weakening of the immune system, depression, insomnia, anger attacks, among others.
Stress destroys our ability to curb impulses. It turns us into a car without brakes that ends up running over the people we love the most.
In addition, some people use unhealthy methods to deal with stress (drinking alcohol, using drugs, smoking, taking medication, compulsive eating, etc.) which, instead of eliminating the problem, aggravate it.
This situation of constant tension also affects our closest interpersonal relationships and especially in the family environment. It is common for problems with the couple or with the parents to appear and they are the first to warn the person that lately he has not been well, he has been very nervous for a while, he is paying for what happens to him at work at home, not you can go on like this etc.
8 recommendations to deal with work stress
- Set healthy boundaries: Today, with new technologies, it is possible to work from virtually anywhere and be available 24/7. This blurs the boundaries between work and personal life. Marking a clear line that differentiates where the day or work involvement ends helps to contain stressful factors.
- Identify your stressors: learn to identify the signals your body sends when you feel stress, if you have a headache, neck pain or anxiety about eating. Write down on your mobile for a week the stressful situations you have experienced and how you have responded to them. This will help you identify patterns and triggers.
- Develop healthy responses: There are several healthy ways to deal with stress. You can exercise regularly, set aside five minutes a day for a self-care activity, encourage social gatherings where work is not discussed, build healthy sleep habits, etc. Look up your favorite responses and set aside time to carry them out.
- Learn to relax: there are many relaxation techniques, diaphragmatic breathing, mindfulness, progressive muscle relaxation (tension-distension), autogenic relaxation... Try a few to find the one that helps you the most. In cases of acute stress, progressive muscle relaxation exercises are recommended due to their ease of learning and immediate effects.
- Take a break: To avoid burnout and chronic stress it is essential to take time to unwind so that we can recover before we return to our high level of functioning. They are small and necessary breathers in our workday.
- Talk to your supervisor and colleagues: it has been shown that maintaining a favorable work environment makes it easier to deal with periods of stress. Some bosses are open to talking about stressors and developing effective coping plans.
- Learn to recognize your emotions: negative emotions such as anger, disgust or sadness are part of our day to day. We are not to try to push them away or eliminate them. Knowing how to name your emotions will help you deal with them and not feel overwhelmed or that they dominate you and you lose your mind.
- Seek support: Having the help of trusted friends and family improves your ability to deal with stress in a healthy way. Let's not forget that they are also generally affected by our periods of acute stress and that there is a natural tendency to pay with them instead of leaning on them. Working on this difference will considerably improve our feeling of well-being.