The Harmful Effects of Workplace Stress

October 19, 2016

The Harmful Effects of Workplace Stress

If you feel like your job is too stressful and may be harming your health, you are not alone. According to the American Psychological Association, more than one-third of American workers experience chronic work stress, not to mention those dealing with normal levels of stress at work. In fact, The American Institute of Stress says 80% of workers feel stressed while on the job. 

Aside from pulling out your hair at your desk, too much stress at work can lead to a multitude of health problems. In terms of physical health, excessive stress can lead to headaches, high blood pressure, chest pain and fatigue. And as if those side effects are not bad enough on their own, the mental health issues can also take a toll. Anxiety, restlessness, irritability and depression are common symptoms of stress.

Stressful workplaces are not only harmful for employees, as they cost American businesses over $300 billion per year. This number may seem high, but it makes much more sense when broken down: Too much stress at works leads to accidents, absences and high employee turnover. Other direct costs to businesses caused by stress occur in the form of medical and insurance costs, in addition to legal fees and settlements. Companies should take note, because while pushing employees to finish projects and meet deadlines may seem important in the short term, the business could pay the price in the long run.

For anyone who is experiencing too much stress at work, it is important to take steps to manage it. The Mayo Clinic recommends several strategies, including regular exercise, getting enough sleep and relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation and massage. Even methods as simple as limiting interruptions at work, keeping a sense of humor and finding time to socialize with family and friends are effective stress relievers. However you choose to manage workplace stress, it is critical to address the problem head-on, as the consequences of inaction could be severe.


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