Stress is a state of increased nervous tension that can be caused by some kind of strong impact. Specialists divide stress into two categories: eustress (good stress) and distress (bad stress).

The peculiarity of positive stress is that it activates a person, his mind, thinking, reaction. This is mainly short-term stress, for example, at a meeting with investors, during a meeting or in the event of force majeure at work.

Distress is prolonged stress that manifests itself in constant emotional stress. For example, a new employee appeared at work with whom it was not possible to immediately establish a relationship. And now every time you get ready for work and stay in the workplace, you feel constant anxiety, tension because of this employee.

What is the danger of workplace stress?

The vulnerability of an employee to stress at work and its harmful effects depends, for example, on the following aspects:

  • ability to cope in a working situation;
  • previous experience and position at work;
  • personal qualities, gender and age;
  • skills and knowledge;
  • health status;
  • obligations outside work;
  • available social support and much more.

However, it should be noted that the most important factors of stress at work are precisely the socio-psychological factors of danger – for example, a large workload, poor relations with the leader or emotional clients.

A person who is in a state of constant stress risks losing health. His heart rate increases, his blood pressure rises, and his blood sugar and hormone levels “jump”. If a person is in a nervous state for a long time, then the brain, heart, lungs, blood vessels and muscles can suffer. This leads to physical and psychological health problems. Stress can trigger diseases such as stroke, cancer, and diabetes.

Effects of stress in the workplace

Signs of stress in the workplace are feelings of anxiety, irritability, apathy, loss of interest in what you are doing. In addition, chronic fatigue, sleep problems and inability to concentrate on work, permanent reluctance to go to the office can speak of overwork.

The symptoms of stress in the workplace on body systems

Circulatory system

There is numerous evidence of a significant impact of the psychological state of a person on the development of heart disease. Anxiety, fear, anger contribute to the development of cardiovascular diseases. Stress leads to the release of additional hormones that increase the heart rate and blood pressure, blood vessels narrow. All of this can lead to a heart attack and stroke.

Musculoskeletal system

Stress in accordance with fight or flight syndrome causes muscle tension, regardless of whether the threat is real or imagined. Muscles create an additional load on ligaments, tendons, joints, which causes their pain. In addition, over time, the muscles weaken and get tired, hence the headaches, pain in the back, neck, shoulder blades, knees.

Digestive system

With severe stress, the salivary glands stop the secretion of saliva, or, conversely, sharply increase it. The stomach increases the secretion of acids, creating excess acidity, provoking nausea, heartburn, leading to stomach ulcers. Another possible outcome of stress is diarrhea.

The immune system

Stress reduces immunity, allowing access to various infections. In addition, the results of recent studies (2006) by British scientists have confirmed the link between cancer and strong emotions (primarily fear).

Respiratory system

There are a large number of cases where severe stress (death in the family, car accident, and sometimes a simple visit to the dentist) caused asthma attacks.

As you can see, stress itself rarely causes serious diseases, but it clearly contributes to the fact that the most weakened part of the body “fails.” Alas, with severe chronic stress, this “failure” is irreversible.

People respond differently to stress. Specialists distinguish physiological and psychological reactions.

Physiological reactions:

  • An anxiety reaction – complex bodily and biochemical changes that reflect the body’s attempt to restore normal functioning; people complain of fever, pain in muscles and joints, loss of appetite and a general feeling of tiredness;
  • Resistance stage – the symptoms of the anxiety stage disappear, and physiological resistance rises relative to the normal level to cope with ongoing stress. However, the secretion of various glands increases, and resistance to infections decreases;
  • Stage of exhaustion – occurs if stress persists for too long. The body can no longer continue to secrete an increased amount of hormones and adapt to ongoing stress, again there are symptoms of anxiety reaction, but, as a rule, in a more pronounced form. Often exhaustion leads to emotional devastation, depersonalization, a sense of failure. A person constantly feels tired both at work and in his free time.

The psychological responses to stress are largely determined by how we perceive the world around us. People with a pessimistic outlook on the world experience stress harder than optimists.

How not to feeling stressed at work

By understanding the psychophysiological mechanism of stress and learning how to manage it, each of us can successfully reduce stress in our workplace in everyday life – firstly, by minimizing the external causes of stress, and secondly, by mastering simple techniques for its internal control and maintenance their resources.

Start by carefully planning your time, rooting out unnecessary action and “time thieves.”

Prioritize your to-do list and focus on what’s most important at the moment

Do not waste time on work that a less skilled worker can do — delegate it

Do not be shy to ask your colleagues for help - social support in stressful situations is invaluable

Streamline and make your work environment as comfortable and enjoyable as possible

The chaos on the desk increases stress, while the ascetic order, warm lighting, home plants or nice photos will calm and help to concentrate.

Allow enough time for sleep - this significantly reduces stress, and a well-rested person makes any task easier and faste

Regularly release the accumulated tension through the physical activity that suits you - in the fitness club, in the dance hall or on a nightly jog

Take time in everyday life for short breaks to relax - to get out of a chair, give your eyes rest, stretch your muscles, go out into the fresh air for a second, have a cup of coffee, and talk with colleagues.

Inhale calm - exhale stress. If you feel that stress is increasing, take 10 slow deep breaths through your nose and exhale through your mouth.


Involved by a smile, facial muscles send signals to those centers of the brain that are responsible for the release of the “hormone of happiness” endorphin and can reduce the level of the stress hormone cortisol. In addition, a smile causes a smile – more often smiling colleagues and yourself, you will feel how the tension decreases and problems will be solved easier.

Learn more about stress management tools, prevention techniques in Stress Management part of our Library